The sawtooth oak earns its name from bristle-like leaf lobes. Native to Southeast Asia, the tree makes any garden picture-perfect. Growing the sawtooth oak involves careful consideration of the soil and fertilizer requirements of the genus.
The oak tree belongs to the genus Quercus. Of the extant 400 species, the sawtooth oak is one of the versatile few that survive temperature and soil variations. Though the genus is originally native to the northern hemisphere, today, it also adorns gardens and parks in and around Southeast Asia. The deciduous and evergreen varieties now sprawl across the vast expanse of fertile land extending from the latitudes of tropical Asia to the continents of North and South America.
The sawtooth oak, like most other oak species, flaunts spirally arranged leaves with lobed margins. The catkin flowers are mostly seen in spring, alongside the cup-like fruit called acorns. These cupules contain a single seed that takes around 18 months to mature. It is a member of the oak subgenus Quercus acutissima. It is a close relative of the Turkey oak and hence, the genus Quercus Cerris. Its shoot buds and soft bristles make the tree a real aesthetic feature in gardens.
Sawtooth Oak Trees
Of all the oak tree types, growing this type of oak tree is by far the easiest. Acorns of this genus mature in approximately a year and a half. The saplings don’t take time at all to flaunt healthy deciduous heights of around 30 m. A healthy sawtooth oak would ideally have a trunk up to 2 m diameter and leaves that are around 20 cm long. The bark is usually dark gray in color and deeply furrowed. Each of the 6 cm wide leaves flaunt around 20 small, tooth-like lobes on the fringes that are triangular in shape. The flowers are mostly wind-pollinated. The 3 cm long bi-colored orange basal acorn cups are eaten by pigeons, jays, and squirrels. Sawtooth plantations are mostly encouraged for wildlife food provision and to provide natural reserves, orchards, and gardens with natural fencing.
Growing Sawtooth Oak Trees
Sawtooth oak trees have been extensively cultivated for ornamental value. They are popularly propagated and transplanted via root-cuttings. The process is conducted after the tree has been trimmed and is in a ‘dormant’ state. It is vital to remember that the plant takes frequent watering to achieve full growth.
While propagating this type of oak tree, the roots need to be kept moist all the time, especially if the sapling is being shipped or transported by any other means to some far-off destination. If immediate transplanting is not possible, the sapling or young tree should be ideally stored in a cool, dark place, like a basement or vacant garage. The new tree, on successful propagation takes around a month and a half to become acclimated to its new surroundings and environment.
The sawtooth oak requires loose, friable soil. The roots need plenty of room and hence, digging deeper than two times the normal width and depth of the root system helps a lot. When refilling the pocket, it is important to remember that there should be no air pockets underground. This simply hastens the drying up of the roots, leading to premature death of the young tree. Once the roots are completely embedded, the stem should be clearly visible above ground.
Consistent monitoring of the plant growth is very essential. This can be done by scratching off a layer of bark to view a white or green fleshy layer. This is a sign of healthy growth. If the layer is brown or black, the sign is indicative of premature death. The young plant should be potted in a well-shaded area. It will be able to handle temperature variations only later. It needs to be watered daily and exposed to raking and the use of organic fertilizer every alternate month. Weeds and grass need to be kept away from the oak in the first year. It is a very hardy tree and with a good soil and proper watering schedule, there is no way infestations can gain ground on the fleshy bark.