Why do oak trees have a unique branch structure?

Mycin

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The distinctive silhouette of an oak tree makes it easy to identify. Multiple strong branches extending out from the trunk, and they are all unusually curvy—no sharp angles. What is it about oak trees that gives them these attributes?

My hunch is lessened apical dominance compared to other trees, leading to branches that grow out instead of up, which means that the acorns that fall from these branches will be distributed across a greater area. Am I close?
 

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TN_Jim

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I believe oaks tend to not be dominant in their branch tips. Rather, they can tend to increase size of branches by buds below the leading buds of a branch being activated to become shoots and new branches. These shoots/buds also tend to not be on a single plane but can have a radial alternate arrangement.

There could be tons of factors in how these trees have evolved in this way, from competition to herbivory of leading tips.
 

Bonsai Nut

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The largest oak in North America, Q. lobata, is an example of a species that doesn't follow your rules

valley oak.jpg

The oaks you are using as examples are very old trees. Young oaks of the same species do not fit the same silhouettes. Perhaps it is a function of age and species? Oaks are long-lived trees with hard wood. They tend to lose branches in strong winds. Perhaps the cycle of dropping branches and regrowth is what gives them a crooked appearance? I don't know - just guessing.

Many other tree species, if you look at old trees, will have a similar appearance.

Old maple:
maple.jpg

Old elm:
in-the-shade-of-the-elm-tree-120.jpg
 

Crawforde

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Many physical and physiological traits are “side effects “ of other traits so story telling to figure out why something appears the way it does to our perception, while useful and entertaining, should always leave room for changing the story.
biology is complicated
And messy
And lots of fun.
 

Mycin

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Ok, point taken. A little context: I was walking through a forest yesterday and saw fantastical tree after fantastical tree. Not just tall and thick but massive undulating branches that squiggled through the skies. The “Fairy Tale “ tree Walter Pall has mentioned. I guessed they were oaks and looked them up at home to confirm my guess.

As I looked through more photos of oaks, I saw that most shared the features I mentioned so I figured it was unique to the species. Really it was the angle-less manner in which the branches grow that I haven’t seen in other trees.

I’ll do some more research to try and narrow my inquiry for you all
 

Djtommy

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Thought this was your site.
That’s a different photographer but it sure looks like the same site, I haven’t been to either so I couldn’t say.
 

leatherback

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OK, that's it. I am applying for a tourism visum for the UK, to visit one of these .. months? Years?
 

Sputnik 184

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Here are a few more UK oaks of note. These are at Cowdray Park just a few miles away from me. They are very ancient Quercus Robur.

The Queen Elizabeth Oak is a large sessile oak tree. It has a girth of 12.5–12.8 metres, and is about 800–1000 years old. It began to grow in the 11th or 12th century AD. In June 2002, The Tree Council designated the Queen Elizabeth Oak one of fifty Great British Trees in recognition of its place in the national heritage. According to the Woodland Trust, the tree is the third largest sessile oak tree in the UK. There are several trees dating from this time. These old oaks are nearing the end of their lives but still have an awe inspiring presence and even when they lose their apexes they still have the tendency to spread their branches.

 

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Djtommy

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This by the way is an oak tree that appeared in Kokufu last year.
Not the lonely oak tree style but looking at th oaks from dartmoor or padley george makes it suddenly much more natural shaped.
goes to say that not all deciduous should look the same either 😱9F4DBE44-E39B-4E37-B05E-59994045C281.jpeg
 

HorseloverFat

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This by the way is an oak tree that appeared in Kokufu last year.
Not the lonely oak tree style but looking at th oaks from dartmoor or padley george makes it suddenly much more natural shaped.
goes to say that not all deciduous should look the same either 😱View attachment 349643
Gheezuhss Khrrycct!!!!!!!
 

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