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Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by dorkweed, Nov 16, 2012.
Was that the Storm that took down 'The Seven Oaks'?
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Yah, I think you have nailed the bug issue of oak rot on the head there. Tannins are a natural anti-bug defense of plants. Humans have evolved an anti-tannin defense, and so we are tolerant of high tannin foods, like tea, coffee and berries.
I think that white oaks by nature are lower in tannins. Tannins are reddish-brown in color and thus red oaks are likely to have higher tannin heartwood. Tannins may well be the differnece in oak heartwood color, and why white oaks in Oregon (Quercus garryana) tends to rot fairly fast when the wood is on the ground.
Actually that's not the case with White Oaks in the midwest & the east.Much higher tannin content in the heartwood than Red Oaks- hence the main reason its been a preferred wood for various exterior uses for centuries.Fence posts (both split rail & round poles),barn framing/timbers/sills,boatbuilding,outdoor furniture plus one of its most revered uses - barrel staves for wine,whisky,cognac & sherry also formerly beer also- they have tyloses which plug the pores making the wood suitable for watertight needs.Red Oaks are more open pored without tyloses..
European Oak is valued the same as several American White Oaks for the same purposes,its a distant botanical cousin.Most all white oak around here will last 25-30 yrs or more when buried in the ground,a few years longer when above ground.Try that with untreated Red Oak & see how fast you'll be replacing the material.Even Red Oak above the ground might last 10 years,a few years less if in a wet or swampy area.
But the red oak acorns are higher in tannins and that is why deer prefer the white oak nuts. However, even though pin oak is a red oak, the deer will eat those as readily as a white oak acorn. Never could quite figure that one out.
Most White Oak acorns I would eat without boiling first.Good as flour & in banana bread or cakes/cookies.Oak blossom honey is supposed to be good,havent seen any for sale in a long time,maybe a local health food store carries it.Though I havent had any in years.Never have been brave enough to try that with any Red Oak acorns.
Right on Thistle!
Yah, I was wrong, as the acorns are not indicitive of the wood tannins. According to Oregon Barrel Works, Oregon white oak has much higher tannin levels than American white oak, on par with French oak. Acorns are not on my diet... and I never considered eating them. I have some fresh Oregon white oak splits here, and I will bury a few and see what happens over time. I am puzzled as to the lack of any color in the wood though. Tannins are generally red in color. Redwood and red cedar are both high in tannins and tend to be more rot-proof here, though they say that in this rain even red cedar will not last in a deck much longer than 10 years in the PNW. Nothing holds up to this weather, wood-wise.
Yes.. pretty catastrophic across this area. The woods and fields are still littered with massive root systems that were uprooted. Given that lots of those trees were english oak, many of the roots are almost unrotted still now. As we work through or woods we'll be processing a lot of these long down oaks. We are on a bit of a slope unfortunately and don't have good access to the track in a few places, so getting to them is hard.