English oak - Quercus robur

English oak - Quercus robur

The Farnia

The English oak, a widely used name for quercus robur, or even quercus peduncolata, is a medium-sized tree, appreciated for its ornamental value and for its benefits as a windbreak and shade bearer. It belongs to the Fagaceae family and its presence is very common throughout Europe. The origin instead lies between Europe, North America and Asia Minor. Among the oaks, robur is one of the more rustic types. It has the characteristic of having a decidedly slow growth but a rather long life, boasting specimens that even exceed 600 years. Its presence was very widespread in a typical landscape of the plain, in the past, especially in the countryside, the robust tree often served as a border and delimitation of landowners. In nature we often come across woods where it is the only specimen, or even in mixed associations, which is why the quercus robur it is frequently used to carry out reforestation in lowland areas.

There English oak it looks like a deciduous tree, with a decidedly large and expanded crown that embellishes its posture giving it a remarkable elegance. It is a medium-sized tree, reaching about 30 meters in height. Its trunk is straight and has a very suggestive branching, due to the beautiful contortions it produces, but which only develops in the upper part. Its bark is smooth in the first years of life, later tending to brown gray, mottled with cracks.

Leaves, flowers, fruits

The leaves, as said deciduous in the autumn season, have a beautiful green color on their upper page, lighter and hairless to the touch in the lower one. They are up to 15 centimeters long and have the characteristic of having short petioles, with 3 to 7 pairs of lobatures. The flowers are present on the same tree both in the male gender, yellow in color, and in the female one, which appear on a peduncle. Flowering occurs in late spring. The fruit of the English oak is very characteristic: an elongated acorn, green or brown, up to 5 centimeters long, which fits alone on a peduncle, or, alternatively, in groups of 2 or 4.


It takes place by seed, through the sowing of acorns within a period that does not exceed two months from their harvest. These must be placed in open pots, the seedlings are subsequently transplanted into the ground and finally the final planting is carried out within the following three years.


Its preference goes to full sun position. There English oak it bears winds very well and is considered as a "heliophilic" species, very fond of being placed in open places, even as an isolated specimen.


It prefers clayey, fertile and deep soils, however, with a sufficient level of humidity. It is therefore advisable to provide at least three irrigations during the hottest seasons, especially in the first years following the planting of the tree. The specimens in the first years of life have a better development if mulches are made with rich organic material.


It does not necessarily require pruning, however it is advisable to thin out the foliage, especially for mature specimens. The goal is to ensure that the English oak does not produce too dense shade, especially if you want to combine the robur with the cultivation of other specimens for the composition of a wooded garden, otherwise there is a strong risk that nothing will grow under it. In the same way, too much shade is avoided for the buildings or the part of the garden that the English oak would cover.


In addition to their arboreal charm for ornamental value, the quercus robur it can be used with great success for the creation of windbreak barriers with a beautiful presence. In this case it is good to associate the robur, a green and deciduous tree, with other evergreen trees, such as the pinus nigra, the quercus ilex, the picea abies, to create a mixed windbreak barrier, very appreciable for the contrasts of both color and shape and structure. It is best to plant the trees that will be used to build the barrier at a distance of 2 to 3 meters.

Other species

Its cultivar species include the "fastigiata" type, characteristic for its elegant columnar bearing, and the "variegated" type, embellished by the white of its leaf margin.

House of Farnese

The Farnese family (/ f ɑːr ˈ n eɪ z i, - z eɪ /, also US: / - eɪ s i /, [1] [2] Italian: [farˈneːze, -eːse]) was an influential family in Renaissance Italy. The titles of Duke of Parma and Piacenza and Duke of Castro were held by various members of the family.

Its most important members included Pope Paul III, Alessandro Farnese (a cardinal), Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma (a military commander and Governor of the Spanish Netherlands), and Elisabeth Farnese, who became Queen of Spain and whose legacy was brought to her Bourbon descendants.

A number of important architectural works and antiquities are associated with the Farnese family, either through construction or acquisition. Buildings include the Palazzo Farnese in Rome and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola, and ancient artifacts include the Farnese Marbles.


Among the monumental trees of Piedmont, the centuries-old oak, magnificent specimen of English oak (Quercus Robur), which thrives on the back of the Valentino Castle, in front of the King's Embarkation and the historic building of the Royal Rowing Society Cerea. The oak, recently saved from a fungal attack that had attacked the roots, undermining the stability of the trunk, is located in a picturesque environment, surrounded by the characteristic wall furnishings of this section of the Valentino Park, the rocks, made with limestone mixed with mortar and often crossed by streams of water in the shape of mountain streams.

The magnificent specimen of Quercus Robur at Valentino

The English oak of the Valentino, belonging to the genus Quercia Rossa (Quercus Rubra, because of the color assumed by the leaves in autumn, or Borealis, because it is widespread in the homonymous hemisphere) which includes hundreds of species, is a majestic specimen, with thick and round crown, straight and slender stem. There Oak tree it is so deeply rooted in the collective imagination of Western culture that the ancient Greeks baptized it drus, a term deriving from the same etymological root on which the term was traced dendros, tree, thus consecrating it as the tree par excellence. Despite the absence of specific dendrological analyzes that allow a precise dating, it is hypothesized that it was planted around 1870, but some botanical scholars believe it even older, given that it is located in a hinge point between the first installation of the Valentino Park, due to Barillet-Deschamps which he put his hand to it between 1863 and 1865 based on the principles of the "landscape" or English park and operating on an area previously used as a park, although not public, and the second extension, designed by Balbo Bertone of Sambuy between 1871 and 1876. The Parco del Valentino, a huge green lung stretched along the banks of the Po, was conceived as a public walk from the mid-nineteenth century and, rich in meadows, clearings and groves with 36 species of conifers and 60 varieties of broad-leaved trees, continued to be expanded until 1965, when in the southern sector, a short distance from the medieval village and the Fountain of the Twelve Months (1898, Carlo Ceppi), the Rose Garden and the Rocky Garden were set up, at whose main entrance a magnificent specimen still thrives of field elm.

Detail of the Fountain of the Twelve Months

Turin is a city that, due to its history as a dynastic and ceremonial capital, boasts one of the highest percentage of public parks per capita in Europe. At the beginning of the nineteenth century elms, poplars, plane trees, oaks prevailed in Turin avenues and gardens, although there was no lack of exotic species, while today along the great city courses there are lime trees, horse chestnuts, hackberries and plane trees, which have nothing to envy ailanti del Ring Viennese or the plane trees Ramblas Spanish. Therefore a heritage that is an integral part ofTurin identity and that must be preserved and handed down to future generations, recovering that spirit of protection that, for example, in the mid-nineteenth century conditioned the killing of even a single plant to the approval of a specific municipal resolution. There care of the public green is implemented both through targeted and aware public actions (which avoid wrong measures such as, for example, "plant spacing" too close between one plant and another), and by promoting sensitivity towards Turin's green heritage among citizens (also only an incision made for fun on the bark of a beech or hornbeam can cause the plant very serious health problems because cutting is a privileged way of penetrating pathogens).

Multiplication of the oak

The oak reproduces by seed.

For sowing, freshly harvested acorns are used at the foot of the tree between November and December or at the latest within 2 months. Old, woody acorns lose much of their germination capacity.

The mature acorns are then sown immediately in a very soft and well-drained substrate.

They are buried with the tip pointing downwards.

They cover themselves with a light layer of soil, kept constantly humid until the young seedlings appear.

The container is placed in a bright, warm place, sheltered from birds or other animals that love acorns.

In spring, the new oak seedlings born from seed should be transferred very gently into single deep and wide pots containing loose and well-drained soil.

Oak plants should be grown in pots, outdoors, in a warm and sheltered place and for at least 2 years before final planting.

Planting or planting

Oak plants grown in pots can be planted at any time of the year and from spring to late autumn. They are planted in well-worked soil with all the earthen bread that surrounds the roots after having mixed the mature manure into the soil. To facilitate water drainage, a layer of sand should also be placed on the bottom of the holes. After planting, the plants are watered abundantly and then regularly to encourage the rooting of the roots in the new home.

In the regions of northern Italy, the planting of the oak tree is generally carried out in autumn, while in those of the Center and the South, in spring. The planting distance between one plant and another varies according to the species and its size.


Young oak is pruned in late winter, from January to early March. Only dry branches are cut, those damaged or broken by the wind, branches infected with fungal diseases. In addition, the branches that cross or intertwine with the others are shortened. From the third year of planting onwards, pruning can be more drastic and to give an adequate harmony of shape to the foliage, the branches of the main branch are cut so that it can develop in width and height. Expert personnel are required for pruning adult oak.

Types of oak

Two large groups can be distinguished to classify this type of trees. The first group is characterized by trees with deciduous leaves.

These specimens grow spontaneously in areas where the climate is temperate and winters are more severe. Their leaves transform during seasonal changes by changing color and falling in the fall.

These types of oaks include: English oak (Quercus robur), oak (Quercus petreae), downy oak (Quercus pubescens) and Turkey oak (Quercus cerris).

The second group, on the other hand, is characterized by persistent leafy trees. Even in winter, they remain bright green as they do not undergo seasonal changes. Another possible distinction is between white oaks and red ones. The former are characterized by the presence of rounded leaves. Red oaks, on the other hand, show pointed leaves.

Oak parasites

Oaks can be attacked by a dangerous parasite, the processionary moth. This harmful insect settles on the leaves of these trees and can cause them to fall. Other typical parasites of these plants are the cipinids and the powdery mildew of the oaks.

Other information

Here are some medicinal plants that have digestive and astringent and analgesic properties such as oak:

  • Yarrow, heals wounds and tightens the skin, but also calms menstrual pains
  • Witch hazel, a plant for all blood circulation problems, heavy legs, varicose veins or hemorrhoids
  • Burdock, regulates for acneic skin, purifies, is diuretic and laxative
  • Hawthorn, the scavenger of free radicals and friend of the heart
  • Carob, the alternative to chocolate, useful for naturally losing weight
  • Caraway, digestive and disinfectant seeds
  • Helichrysum, skin-friendly oil, treats eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis
  • Euphrasia, decongestant useful for eyes, coughs and colds
  • Fennelfor gastritis and colitis
  • Ash tree, famous for its lymph and manna, it has a laxative, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic and antiarthritic action
  • Gentian, famous for its bitterness, it facilitates digestion and lowers fever.
  • Mauve for cough, bronchitis, laryngitis and hoarseness
  • Peppermint, with a fresh aroma with anesthetic, purifying and antiseptic action
  • Blackberry, powerful antioxidant, great for the heart, protect against tumors
  • Myrtle, it is balsamic, anti-inflammatory and astringent, treats cystitis and hemorrhoids, aids digestion
  • Rhubarb, known as a digestive, used in bitters, and astringent due to tannins
  • Sage for digestive and menstrual disorders


Francesco Pelleri
Center for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture, Forestry Research Center, Arezzo, Italy

Serena Ravagni
Center for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture, Forestry Research Center, Arezzo, Italy

Enrico Buresti
Center for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture, Forestry Research Center, Arezzo, Italy

ISSN: 2284-354X

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Comparison between thinning methods in a pure English oak plant (Quercus robur L.)


Comparison between different thinning systems in a pure common oak plantation.- First results of thinning trials, in a 19 years old pure common oak plantation, carried out during winter 2001/2 are reported. A previous thinning had been applied in 1993. Two different thinning methods were tested: systematic-selective method (50% tree felling) and selective thinning method (felling around 80 target tree per hectare). In spite of different thinning intensity (43% and 28% of basal area) in order to keep constant the diameter increments of target trees, the effects of both methods were similar. During the first five years after thinning, the target trees in both thinned plots showed constant diameter increments around 1.1 cm, while in the control plot the diameter increment decreased progressively to 0.7 cm. After thinning and pruning, epicormic branches developed on target trees. In the specific, about 68% of target trees in the thinned plots are characterized by epicormic branches, although only the 17% are vigorous. In the control plot, 62% of target trees developed epicormic branches, none of them vigorous.


Full Text:


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Video: Winter English Oak - Quercus robur