Oaks are among the very best native wild food plants.  The trees themselves are used as a host plant by well more than 500 species of moths and butterflies.  If that is not enough, their seeds (acorns) provide food for scores of birds and mammals, many of which inhabit out backyard.

As such, it is not surprising many homeowners want one or more oaks growing in their yards.  The problem is it takes a long time to produce a crop of acorns.  Laurel oaks usually do not produce their first acorn until they are 15-20 years old.  Water oaks bear acorns in around 20 years.  On the other end of the scale, scarlet, southern red and white oaks can take 50 or more years before they sport their first acorns.

With that in mind, when clearing a lot for a new home or simply opening up an existing yard, try to leave an oak that might shortly or already bearing acorns.

If you do not already have an oak on your property, go ahead and plant one.  Although it might take what seems like a very long time before you will see its first acorn, realize time flies by quicker than you might think.  In the meantime, think about all of the moths and butterflies that will be raised on your tree before it matures.


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