The name of this lovely, evergreen, medium-sized oak is given by the appearance and texture of its bark, which is thick and corky. Its bark comes as an adaptation to its native climate from the Mediterranean basin, which frequently sees forest fires. This tree is adapted to resisting fire and will rapidly grow back branches in case they are lost to such a disaster.
A Tree with Countless Uses
The bark of the cork oak tree is used to manufacture wine corks, cork floors, and other products. The species is also extremely useful for wildlife in its natural biome, like the Iberian lynx in Portugal and Spain and the Barbary macaque in North Africa.
One of the most remarkable specimens of this species is a Cork Oak in Portugal which was proclaimed the largest and oldest Cork Oak in the world by the Guinness World of Records.
How to Grow and Care for a Cork Oak
Being so well adapted to the Mediterranean climate, this oak tree is perfect for the Southern region of the US. It is resistant to drought, fire, and lack of water, and can take full sun. Mature Cork Oaks don’t require water or fertilizing, as long as they are left with their own mulch underneath the canopy.
It has an average height of 40 feet but could reach 70 feet in the perfect conditions. It reaches maturity at about 25 years when it can be considered safe to proceed with the cork harvest. This should be done carefully and only repeated every 10 years to avoid inflicting too much damage to the tree.
If you want to plant more than one seedling of Cork Oaks, be sure to leave at least 30 feet between them or any other structures to give them enough room to grow.
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