Barren hillsides could once again be cloaked in beautiful evergreen Himalayan Oaks.
The Himalayan Evergreen oak has proven to be a very tough, resilient tree in dry soil locations and extremely fast growing in areas with good rainfall and free draining soil.
They do not appear to suffer from any serious pests or diseases. The odd leaf roller noted and in some situations leaf miner, but nothing of any consequence. Himalayan oaks are fast growing, with examples of 12 year old trees that are 8m in height. Mature oaks grow to 10 – 15m and can age to 200 years.
From experience gained over the last 20yrs, this tree has almost unlimited value.
At night the oak roots continue to absorb water from deeper layers in the soil. The water then gets released by the shallow roots into the shallow soil layers, making water available to shallow rooted plants. This provides a significant source of water for shallow-rooted plants.
The trees with their strong, deep, root system have proven to be excellent at land stabilisation moderating water absorption and protecting precious topsoil from being washed away. Soil protection and the introduction of precious water can reverse the effects of land degradation, turning it once again into a thriving eco-system.
While the oak growth rates are moderate, it still sequesters carbon in the ecosystem. The oak produces large quantities of microbial biomass or bacteria and fungi. This releases carbon which leaks into the soil building up soil organic carbon. Over time, the oak population becomes dense within a fairly small area and this in combination with the high soil carbon, makes the total ecosystem carbon very high.
Himalayan Oaks have been used successfully as shelter belts in kiwifruit orchards. They require minimal trimming or root pruning in contrast to the traditional Casuarina or Willow which are high maintenance.
The wood is very dense possibly making it ideal for veneer or furniture timber.
If seedlings can be protected from grazing goats and cattle and mature trees protected from harvesting, the positive impact on the environment from reforestation will be immense. Barren hillsides could once again be cloaked in beautiful evergreen Himalayan Oaks.
The most valuable aspect of the Himalayan Oak, is its ability to bring back the water – quickly.
The deep root system brings water up to the surface and helps prevent erosion.