The burr oak attains immense size in Indiana and some other Northern States. A gentleman living in Marion County, Indiana, told the writer: "The bun-oaks in this neighborhood attain the diameter of six feet, and with a stem, in one instance, of sixty feet high without a limb." The following description of the burr oak is given by Dr. P. P. Hoy, of Pacine, an accomplished naturalist, and member of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences: " This is, perhaps, the most ornamental of our oaks. Nothing can exceed the graceful beauty of these trees when not crowded or cramped in their growth, but left free to follow the laws of their development. Who has not admired these trees in our extensive burr-oak openings? Its large leaves are a dark green above and a bright silvery white beneath, which gives the tree a singularly fine appearance when agitated by the wind. The wood is tough, close-grained, and more durable than the white oak, especially when exposed to frequent changes of moisture and dryness. Did the tree grow to the same size it would be preferred for most uses. Abundant and richly worthy of cultivation, both for utility and ornament, burr oaks in Wisconsin do not generally attain more than one foot in diameter, and the limbs grow near the ground, making a sort of espalier, and rarely growing higher than thirty to forty feet, straight, with very rough bark. The acorn is enclosed in a burr something like a chestnut, hence their name."
This is the most useful of all trees. Loudon describes somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred and twenty, and this number has since been added to. These trees are found mostly in the temperate zone; those that we find in the tropics are in elevated positions. It is found distributed over Europe and North America. These trees are of a beautiful appearance, and have not been paid sufficient attention as ornamental trees. Bryant says: " In many of the oaks the form of the leaves varies so much with different conditions of the tree, or different stages of its growth, that it constitutes an uncertain characteristic by which to distinguish the species. Consequently, where the wood is similar, different species are sometimes confounded under one name. The fructification affords a more certain mode of distinction."
It seems to be the opinion of many that the oak should be left where it grows from the seed, but throughout Europe the tree-planters affirm that it is best to transplant them.
Some botanists call the scarlet oak merely a variety of the black oak; but it differs in some particulars, viz., the leaves turn to a bright red in the fall; the acorns have a white kernel, and not yellow, as in the black oak. The wood is of a very poor quahty, and for fuel and timber I cannot say that it is to be recommended very highly for cultivation.
Height, eighty feet; diameter, six feet; and is the fastest-growing of the oaks. Is a very handsome and ornamental tree, and will grow on almost any soil, either rich or poor. It is found all over the United States. The wood is coarse-grained, of a red color, open pores, and of little durability. It is sometimes used when timber is not abundant.
This is a large, ornamental tree, coarse-grained, open-pored, and not very durable. It thrives best in moist ground. It has a conical head and a light-green, beautiful foliage.
The willow oak grows to the height of fifty or sixty feet. Its leaves very much resemble those of the willow. The wood is very coarse-grained and strong, but it is not fit for fuel. If any amateur has any curiosity on the subject of this tree I would advise him to cultivate it, but that is the only time I would recommend it for cultivation.
This tree usually reaches from forty to fifty feet in height, and is about two feet in diameter. It much resembles the laurel in its fohage, and so takes its name. It is used in rural districts for rails; sometimes for house-frames. The wood is coarse-grained and not valuable.
The only use I ever found this tree put to was for fuel, and as such it is esteemed more than any other of the oak family. It is a small tree, with generally a very crooked trunk. It grows in any soil, but is found in the most barren. It seldom exceeds thirty feet in height.
This tree is sometimes confounded with the red oak, whose wood it very much resembles. It is common in the maritime parts of the Southern States and southern Illinois, but is scarce in the Mississippi valley. In favorable situations it becomes a large tree.
The famous five-oak is found only in the Southern States, more especially in Florida. It is more esteemed for ship-building than any tree known. It is, like the cork oak, an evergreen. It frequently reaches from eighty to ninety feet in height, and from five to six feet in diameter.