The Oaks belong to all countries which enjoy a temperate climate, and every country owning them is proud of its Oaks with their immense trunks, their picturesque character and great spread of limbs. For landscape effects on a large scale the Oak tree is indispensable, its rugged stem and twisted branches furnishing an element of character not to be found in any other genus.
All of the family are worthy of a place in any collection, but our natives should be preferred, as they give the same general effects as the Eastern and the European species; besides we know that our native species are sure to be long-lived, as they are comparatively free from disease and immune from the attacks of injurious insects. Many Oak trees which are long-lived in their native countries have proved to be short-lived when transplanted to a foreign country. The English Oak, for instance, which in Europe lives, under favorable conditions, to the great age of from fifteen hundred to eighteen hundred years, is said to show signs of decay when it reaches the age of from fifty to seventy years in the Eastern States. Native trees, therefore, should at all times be given the preference when the indigenous species give the effects desired.
The White Oak delights in a deep rich heavy loam resting on a clay subsoil, the Live Oak in a rich loam on a gravel subsoil. Stagnant water about the roots of a Live Oak will cause the tree to become sickly and to fail to grow satisfactorily. Our native Black Oak, one of our most desirable species, loves a rich pocket of soil on a sheltered hillside. In such a situation it is one of the most attractive and noble of all the Oak family.
California is justly proud of its Oaks, and it is hoped that owners of fine specimens, of whatever kind or species, will spare, them as long as possible, remembering that it takes at least a hundred years to grow them and that many of our grand specimen Oaks were large trees when Drake and Balboa first visited the Coast.
Among the most desirable non-indigenous species are the English Oak (Quercus Robur), the Turkey Oak (Quercus Cerris), the Cork Oak (Quercus suber), the Pin Oak (Quercus palustris), the Willow Oak (Quercus Phellos) and the Southern Evergreen Oak (Quercus Virginiana) while all the others are well worthy of prominent places in large pleasure-grounds, public or private.
Propagate by seeds planted one inch deep as soon as ripe; transplant them when one year old, into nursery rows, and again transplant them at least every two years until they are large enough to be planted in their permanent quarters.