Family: Cork Oak
AQuercus suber is best known for its bark and the product we make from it—cork. This tree should also be known for its fine landscape qualities, and permanence in the landscape. Originating in southern Europe, Q. suber has been planted both for its cork and as a landscape plant for many 100s of years.
In the Australian landscape, Cork Oak is a broad, spreading tree with an open canopy and thick, corky bark. Older trees become very picturesque and elegant, with the grey-green, evergreen foliage contrasting well with the deeply-fissured, grey-to-tan bark. Like Q. ilex, the acorns are infrequently produced, and do not cause a litter or weed problem.
Again, like Q. ilex, Cork Oak is a slow-growing, long-lived tree. As it grows less than 400mm per year in the landscape, we recommend that trees of 1600mm+ are planted to give some landscape impact. Q. suber is not as easily hedged as Holly Oak because of its coarse branching, and should be considered as a park tree where broad canopy spread is advantageous.
Although Q. suber will grow reasonably well with no additional summer irrigation post establishment, this tree will grow best with fortnightly, deep irrigation. Q. suber survives on most soil types, but is somewhat intolerant of compaction.
Typical mature height: 20m in Melbourne
Useful in: reserves & parks
Sites for best growth: most sites appropriate