Human beings have been using wood as a construction material and for firewood for millennia. There are numerous types of wood that can be used and just as many different products that can be made. There are two distinct types of wood – hardwood and softwood. The type chosen for a particular project will depend very much on the item that is being constructed.
Oak is wood that has been used in many different ways over the years and as well as being the perfect choice for boat construction in the past it is now used for building Oak Garages and you can visit Timberpride to see some examples of these. It is chosen for these large scale constructions because it is a durable, strong wood that has a very distinctive look. It is one of the woods that tend to be stained rather than painted as many people want to see the grains that are naturally found in the wood.
In the UK, Oaks are one of our oldest tree species with some being hundreds of years old and some species of oak even surviving up to 1,000 years in age. It is thought that some of the first oak trees appeared on Earth around 65 million years ago and their long existence is credited to the seeds that they produce. The seeds are found in hard shells (acorns) which mean they are affected less by dramatic temperature changes. The acorns and leaves have a coating on them which consists of tannic acid. This acid means that they are less affected by fungus and pests.
An oak tree that survives until full maturity will produce over 10 million acorns. Each one of these will contain a seed that will produce another tree. Many of these acorns and seeds will never germinate as they are a food source for birds like woodpeckers and smaller animals like mice, squirrels and even deers. In fact, studies have shown that only around 1 in 1,000 acorns will actually grow into an oak tree. Of these young saplings, even fewer of them will mature into full-grown oaks.
There are over 600 different species of oak tree and their locations are scattered all over the globe. Unfortunately due to deforestation in some areas and the clearing of land to grow crops and graze animals or to build houses, it is thought that over 70 of these species are now in danger of extinction. It is for this reason that many of the ancient oaks that can be found in the Uk are a part of tree preservation orders which means they can not be cut down and have to be maintained and looked after.