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Oak Tree Guilds?

 
                    
Posts: 9
Location: San Francisco, CA
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Hi everyone, can anyone help with what plants would be happy growing around an oak? I'm concerned because I've heard that oaks release enzymes which can kill some plants, and that planting plants that need too much water can be dangerous for the oak. I appreciate any help with this!

Thanks! =)
 
                            
Posts: 79
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i only know this is true for wallnuts. but for oak never heard. theres mixed forest around my place, lot of oaks. and lot of hazelnuts, wild cherries and blackberries grow on the edge of forest. also full of mushrooms. some of them realy like oak, they live in symbiosis and exchange stuff via roots. also  theres plums, apples, pears and cornelian cherries around in the village, i dont think oak trees bother them much...
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Don't know where you are, or what species of oak you are concerned about. Where I am, the native oak is Quercus garryana. It, and the similar Quercus kelloggi are adapted to summer drought. People do plant and water lawns underneath them, but the received wisdom is that, over a period of years, this will increase their susceptibility to fungal disease, and shorten their lives. The received wisdom is also that seedlings of these oaks will adapt better to summer irrigation than mature specimens. I have no data sources confirming these ideas however.

There are many species of oak in the world, and many have evolved in summer-wet areas and in swamps. If you know which oak you have, and where it evolved, you can make a pretty educated guess about its moisture tolerances.

AFAIK, no oak secretes a plant-killing substance as walnuts do. Oak leaves can mat down and form an almost impervious layer, which effectively prevents most other plants from growing. Just break the mat up. Shredded oak leaves are good as mulch and in compost.
 
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