Be sure to download the booklet "The Garry Oak Gardener’s Handbook" which is linked to on that page.
You may of course want to substitute food-producing plants for some of the native plants. But the resources above will give you an idea of what plants nature assembles under Garry oaks (aka Oregon White Oak).
I have Red Oak, Scarlet Oak, Post Oak, Live Oak, White Oak and Hickory Oak. When they are mature they tend to block out sunlight, so I trim them up at least fifteen feet. I have twenty-two "Farmers" that water and fertilize my Apples, Cherries, Peaches and Almonds. Persimmons and Pawpaw grow wild here and I noticed that they do best on the shady side of the tree. The Persimmons are very cold hardy and should really be considered. The other naturally occurring understory tree for Oak in the Midwest is Mulberry.
Now, in our forest I've noticed that Wild Raspberry grows abundantly in the dapple shade of the Oaks. I've planted a variety of Raspberry, Blackberry, Boysenberry, Salmonberry and Thimbleberry. All are doing great. I have also found Hawthorn and Elderberry does very well in these guilds.
I'm working hard to build soil quality, so I've planted Goumi, Siberian Peashrub and Comfrey in every guild and I haven't been disappointed. For ground cover, I am partial to strawberries.
I feel like the key is to let the light in. Oaks are really the most adaptive tree in the temperate zone and they make very good use of available solarenergy. Get in there and open them up so that light can find its way through them. I wouldn't worry too much about damage to the tree. I've cut whole trees down, only to see five new trees grow up out of the stump.
One thing to remember about the amazing Oak Tree. That black stuff that gets all over the car, all those flowers that clog up the gutters, and two or three crops of leaves per year is a huge amount of fertilizer and biomass. Don't wast it.
I was happy to find out about this free resource today, which was released from Midwest Permaculture in April, 2013.
Because...it lays out an oak guild, and it's being provided by a permaculture center in the midwest (my region)!
I found the oak guild really helpful, with plants that I know are suited to my climate (great lakes / midwest / zone 5b/6a).
It also has many other plant guilds.
Here's a list of what's included:
Fruit Tree Guild
Oak Tree Guild
Service Tree Guild (serviceberry aka juneberry aka saskatoon, etc.)
Tree Hazel Guild
Wet Meadow Guild
Appx - Spring bulbs, nurseries, rootstocks
Hi! I came across this old thread. I live near Sequim, WA, historically known for it's dry cool PNW climate. Garry Oak savanna was what was up (although my particular spot was a bit west of this, into Douglas Fir territory).
Anyone mimicking Garry Oak savanna in the PNW with more guild ideas/tips? How useful are Garry Oak acorns? Chestnut grows great, we have 20+ giant 30 year old trees- just the wrong variety to get nuts in this climate, but thinking of doing alley cropping with very wide row spacing on contour using a bit of oak, the chestnut, standard apple, linden. What other great trees would you guys suggest?
Snowberry and Ocean Spray are def the shrub layer here.. But could be substituted with Sea Buckthorn (we have a few giant ones). How would mulberry do here?