Growing Our Urban Forest Canopy – One Kit at Time

Red Oak Tree Kits – ALL RESERVED FOR SPRING 2021

Over the winter, staff at Green Venture prepared Red Oak Tree kits which included 5 heritage oak seeds (acorns), soil, growing pot, and simple step-by-step instructions. These kits were distributed to classes and community members. Over the past few months we’ve been watching as these acorns grow up into beautiful saplings. Soon our baby Red Oaks will be transferred into the ground and help contribute to Hamilton’s urban forest. 

Check out our trees so far:

Please check back next year to get your kit! For more information: garden@greenventure.ca

What is a native tree?

A native tree is one that has not been introduced by man and occurs naturally. Native trees are perfect for providing food and shelter for our wildlife, manufacturing oxygen for both animals and humans.

Learn More About Oak Trees Below

About Red Oak Trees

Red oak (Quercus rubra) or wiisagi mitigomish (Anishinaabemowin name) is a native tree that is found in a wide range in North America, including east of Lake Superior and across central and southern Ontario and as far east as PEI and south as Mississippi. 

Red Oak Trees Grow Very Tall! How Tall?

Up to 30 metres – and they can live for a very long time – up to 400 years! Red oak leaves are dark green and have sharp, pointed lobes (usually 7 to 9) with bristly tips. Acorns (mitigomin) from the red oak are rounded, about 2 cm long and have a scaly but smooth cap that looks like a little beret. The bark of the red oak is smooth and dark gray when the tree is young, but deep ridges develop as the tree gets older.

Red Oaks and The Ecosystem

All oak trees, including red oaks, are important food web supporting trees. An oak tree can support over 500 species of native insects and caterpillars! All those juicy caterpillars become food for native birds, and then other animals eat those birds, and on it goes with a strong urban food web. Especially in urban areas, a healthy ecosystem depends on native trees and the biodiversity they support. Our tree kits help you grow our urban forest for insects and birds and people!

 

Photo Source: Ontario Tree Atlas

Plant Your Oak 

When it is time to plant your red oak seedling, remember it needs room to grow and prefers full sun! It will grow very big and tall, so it needs to be planted at least 20 ft away from any structure and overhead wires and where it will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight. Red oak can tolerate a variety of moisture levels and soil types. If you don’t have room for a red oak, but still want to grow one, no problem! Pick up a kit, grow your trees, and give us a call in the spring to arrange a drop off and we’ll find suitable planting spots for those saplings!

 

Photo Source: Ontario Tree Atlas

Learn More! 

More on red oak and other native tree species from Ontario Tree Atlas and the Forest Gene Conservation Association

Tree growing kits are available as a project of Canopy for Community, thanks to the support of the Hamilton Community Foundation and the Canadian Tree Fund.