Oak Action Group
The Oak Action Group formed in June 2018 to encourage the planting and utilisation of oak trees in New Zealand.
Oak is an important timber species in the northern hemisphere and anecdotal information suggests many species grow faster in New Zealand than their countries of origin. Some initial trials of English oak was established about 70 - 80 years ago but little research and evaluation work has been done since.
New Zealand has about 140 of the ~600 species of oaks found worldwide. Some species are commonly planted as farm and amenity trees. Many others are represented in small numbers in botanic gardens, arboretums and a few private collections. It is very difficult and expensive to import new oak genetics into New Zealand. Acorns must be imported through post-entry quarantine and spend up to 2 years there before they are given biosecurity clearance.
Therefore a first priority for the OAG is to conserve and fully utilise the genetic resources of oak trees already in New Zealand.
The Oak Action Group is currently developing the following pilot projects:
- Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, Pauatahanui - planting programme to establish a range of different species and seed orchards over 5 years.
- Longitudinal measurement study of Mexican oak species on dry sites: Guthrie Smith arboretum, Hawkes Bay; Penrith Park, Marlborough.
- Red oak planting trials - East Coast, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa.
- Selections of precious species with edible, large acorns for food (human nutrition / paleodiet).