Silver Oak tree is known by many other names such as Silk Oak, Silky Oak, Silver Oak, Southern Silky Oak, and Australian Silver Oak. Though, the term “Oak” in the name of this tree is not quite justified, because it is not related to the true oak trees.
The Silver Oak tree grows at a very good pace and its growth per year is also fast. The tree has a life span of 40-45 years on an average. The silver oak tree is botanically known as “Grevillea Robusta” and this species name is apt for defining these trees because they are robust in the true sense, they are huge, they are very tough and they are also extremely drought resistant once they get properly established.
These trees though need water for them to grow fast, otherwise, in the dearth of water, they would take a bit longer to grow properly. The beautiful silver oak is used in many areas for landscaping and it is also used for planting across the field borders, parks, and along the streets. The gorgeous colorful flowers of the tree are the most attractive parts, and they surely light up the ambiance.
Basic Characteristics Of Grevillea Robusta
The silver oak tree is an evergreen tree that is native to the lands of Australia but is found growing in abundance in the Indian subcontinent and various other parts of the world. It belongs to the family “Proteaceae”, which is a large family of flowering plants, generally found in the southern hemisphere. The scientific name of the silver oak tree is “Grevillea Robusta”.
The tree can be cultivated in all types of soil and it generally requires a low supply of water. The Silver Oak trees can grow in a height range of 20 to 35 meters with a canopy spreading up to 10 meters in width.
Silver Oak tree grows in a pyramidal or oval shape and it has heavy horizontal branches and a strong thick trunk for providing support. The bark of the tree is generally fissured or furrowed, having dark greyish to dark brown color.
The leaves of the tree grow in fernlike pinnate arrangement with 11 to 21 pairs of pinnae, having a dark green color. The leaflets are lanceolate having lobed margins. The flowers are orange or saffron bottlebrush like blooms which are generally 8 to 15 cm long.
These orange flowers of the silver oak tree attract a lot of birds as they are full of nectar, and these flowers produce seeds afterward that the birds like to feast upon. The birds and the parrots come to visit throughout the year at the places where silver oak trees are planted in numbers.
Uses And Benefits Of Silver Oak Tree
Silver Oak Tree is very helpful in the plantation of coffee, the coffee plants are planted in the shades of the silver oak tree. The coffee plants need this shade for their survival and as this tree is tall and shady, it is used in numbers for coffee plantation.
It is also used for the cultivation of many creeper plants and vines like black pepper, which have high commercial value. The wood of the Silver oak is used mainly by the paper industry and it is also used by the plywood manufacturers.
It is not considered as a good option in the furniture industry because it is not a hardwood and it also gets easily affected by the insects’ borers, which shortens its life span. Also, it has poor workability for the making of furniture items, so carpenters and woodworkers try to avoid working with it.
Silver Oak is one of the softwood types of trees, and its wood has been observed to deteriorate at a fast pace, as such many people consider it unfit as a means of construction and furniture timber. However, it is used in the manufacturing of items like frames and cases where strength is not much required.
Many people also use the wood of the silver oak tree for the purpose of parquetry. The wood from this tree is also used for making cricket bats and nowadays it is also being used for making musical instruments such as guitar owing to the acoustic qualities of the wood.
How To Grow Silver Oak Tree
The Silver Oak tree is considered to be one of Australia’s most beautiful flowering trees. It can be grown in different shapes and sizes, as per your requirement. Although these gorgeous flowering plants are native to Australia, they are successfully grown in various parts of the world. Many people like to grow these trees because they remain beautiful throughout the year; the lovely colorful flowers that appear on this tree grow throughout the year.
In general, the pure Grevillea Robusta is a very large tree, and it does not grow very well as a bonsai or a container plant. But, there are many hybrids of this tree that are equally beautiful and they can be easily grown as a small plant or a bonsai for your home.
One important thing that you should keep in mind while growing this plant, is to grow it in an acidic mix. For preparing the soil you can use a mix of half peat and half perlite. And, one more thing that you need to take care of is not to fertilize them, as they do not need much fertilizer for growth. If they are exposed to fertilizers, especially with the ones having phosphorus, they are most likely to die.
So, it is suggested to not use any fertilizers, especially during the initial periods. They should only be fertilized once or twice a year, with a very dilute solution. One good thing about this tree is that it does not get bothered by too many insects. Also, it grows very quickly, so you do not need to wait for a very long time to see the results.
Silver Oak tree flowers throughout the year; as such it can be pruned any time of the year, as per your requirement. Generally, most of the pruning is required to be done in the summertime. This plant has really beautiful exotic flowers, which can really brighten up your day. So it is highly recommended to grow this plant for your home.