Oak Trees Are Our Friends

Written and Researched by Alynah Adams

Interactions

As a Quercus robur, a large deciduous tree with dark green to olive green leaves, I am very common and can be found in many places. Including large fields, and places with little water and heavy soil (like close to a city). A tree houses many animals, including humans that create homes from their wood. Birds, squirrels, raccoons, bees, rodents, and a variety of insects live in us, find food in our branches, take shelter under my stable canopy, and even raise their young in my leaves. Us, oak trees, are hard at work photosynthesizing to provide our own food while producing fruits and nuts as well as oxygen to be recycled around the planet.

In return for the safety, comfort, food, and oxygen I provide for the animals around me they do small things for me as well. All the animals fertilize my soil, ants clear the base of my tree giving me room to grow, many animals help us reproduce by spreading around seeds, and earthworms are essential to plant life by burrowing deep into the ground creating tunnels that allow better access for roots to water and air as well as leaving behind excrement that is a crucial fertilizer for plants. And of course there are many other animals and such that assist me as much or more than I assist them.

In order to communicate with the rest of my species I have fungi that grows along my roots which lets my friends know what's up with me by sending, receiving, and interpreting chemical messages.

Trees = Healthy Environment

The common oak tree that I am is native to Europe and western Asia and I'm usually found in mixed woodlands, but I can survive very well in city conditions. And because I am a long-living tree species my wood can be used in many ways! Including magazines, newspapers, candy wrappers, and cereal boxes, while dyes and saps can be utilized in several other ways.

And through multiple processes, we make the Earth a better, more livable place to survive. And as we go through transpiration, we let off moisture that evaporates right back into the atmosphere; our roots, which extend down and out three times the width of my trunk, extract water found deep inside the soil, and our leaves return it back into the air. We must breathe in order for other animals and plants to survive. All plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out the oxygen that is crucial for animals. And because of this the air is more clean and fresh. Roots help hold in soil and fight soil erosion which keeps our waterways and rivers more drinkable and livable for all plants and animals.

And of course because we are big and tall we can shade and cool human homes in the summer, and in the winter we block the wind and keep homes warm. As the seasons change, so does my physical appearance. In the spring, my branches are budding, I have a few flowers blooming, and leaves just beginning to sprout. In the summer, I am bright green with all my leaves showing up full and proud on my branches. In the winter, the cold forces my leaves to fall with the wind and snow leaving my branches bare and almost dead looking while covered in white snow. I believe I am the most beautiful during the fall season when my leaves change colors; you'll see reds, oranges, and yellows, as my chlorophyll breaks down making it easier to spot the different colors as the green fades away for a few months.

Fast Forward 3,000 Years Into the Future....

One evolutionary advantage as a tree is my bark, which acts as an armor and protects me from animals and damaging weather. Another is the ability to recuperate easily after animals burrow into my bark to live. I can simply 'scab' over the open wound and continue on with my day. Also, because of senescence I go through cycles laying dormant for months and regain my health in the spring! Because I am so tall and wide I have first shot at the suns rays which gives me a better chance to photosynthesize and respire. Another reason it's advantageous to be tall is so birds can find me and eat my fruits and disperse my seeds.

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