Farnia – Tips for my garden

Generality

English oak is a large oak (Quercus robur), given that under favorable conditions it reaches 50 m in height with a trunk diameter of 2 m. However, it is usually about 35 meters high. It exceeds 500 years of life. The trunk is robust, branched when there is space, in large branches. The foliage is wide and not too dense, with the lower branches horizontal. The bark is smooth and gray at first, then after 20 years it forms deep longitudinal furrows and shallower horizontal furrows. Current-year twigs are greyish-brown, smooth and shiny. The leaves are deciduous, obovate-oblong, narrower at the base, with 5-7 wide lobes and rounded sinuses and two characteristic unequal lobes near the petiole (orecchiette). The leaf consistency is herbaceous, more leathery at the end of the season. Flowering occurs at the same time as foliation, from late April to May, with male flowers gathered in catkins with 10-12 yellowish perianth flowers. The female flowers, on the other hand, are carried in the axils of the leaves at the apical part of the branches. They are grouped into spikes of 2 to 5 elements, and have 3 reddish stigmas surrounded by oval bracts. Pollination is anemophilous but there are not yet documented certainties on the allergenicity of its pollen. The fruiting of Farnia begins after 30 years of life or even later in a wooded habitat (70 years). The fruit is an elongated, smooth acorn, 2-3.5 cm long, brown when ripe (October) with darker longitudinal veins and a dome that covers about a third of its length. The root system is initially taproot, then gradually more predominant and robust lateral roots appear. The mature rhizosphere expands, but more superficial than in other oaks, which is not surprising since the Farnia lives in places with a shallow water table, and under these conditions a root system too deep could suffocate. English oak has considerable morphological variability also due to the ease with which it hybridizes in nature (usually with oak and downy oak, but not only). There are two subspecies naturally occurring in Italy, one is the one described so far, the other differs in that its leaves are initially pubescent with narrower breasts, and the acorns have the largest dome ( brutia subspecies). English oak has considerable morphological variability also due to the ease with which it hybridizes in nature (usually with oak and downy oak, but not only). There are two subspecies naturally occurring in Italy, one is the one described so far, the other differs in that its leaves are initially pubescent with narrower breasts, and the acorns have the largest dome ( brutia subspecies). English oak has considerable morphological variability also due to the ease with which it hybridizes in nature (usually with oak and downy oak, but not only). There are two subspecies naturally occurring in Italy, one is the one described so far, the other differs in that its leaves are initially pubescent with narrower breasts, and the acorns have the largest dome ( brutia subspecies).

Climate and terrain

In Italy, it is present throughout the peninsula with the exception of Puglia, in Sicily. The brutia subspecies is present in Campania and Calabria. Although now the Farnia has been supplanted by agricultural crops and the oak forests have been greatly reduced, this oak would be the main component of the large lowland forests (the “Silva lupanica” of the ancient Romans). The ideal climate includes hot but not dry summers and harsh winters, good water availability throughout the year (under penalty of drying of the branches and formation of epicormic branches of the trunk and main branches) and a very bright. early years of development. It prefers deep soils with superficial, fresh and humus-rich aquifers, neither too acidic nor too alkaline.

Plant and cultivation techniques.

Where it can be used, sowing is preferred, as the taproot of the young plant is quite long. The acorn germinates immediately, so it should be sown 4-5 cm deep in well-cultivated soil as soon as it matures (September-October). Seedlings are planted at 1 or 2 years old. Grafts, on the other hand, do not root well if they are already very mature. Commercial cultivation takes a turn of 80 to 100 years, given the slow growth of the plant. Agricultural pruning is only done to obtain more commercially useful logs; otherwise the plant must remain intact.

pests and diseases

Among the parasites of oaks in general, and therefore also of English oak, we retain several Lepidoptera such as Lymantria dispar and Thaumetopoea processionaea which cause serious defoliation and can be opposed to biological control by antagonistic or predatory species (tits). Also remembered are Cerambix pig tunneling in wood, leaf mosaic virus, powdery mildew caused by the ascomycete Microsphaera alphitoides, and several other fungal diseases. Farnia is also a victim of the “melting oak syndrome”, a disorder now widespread throughout the world and still poorly understood, manifested by yellowing of the foliage, microphylls, epicormic branches, a decrease in vital mycorrhizae on the roots, bark exudates from cracks.

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