This Earth Day thank an oak tree. Why? Doug Tallamy explains in his book Bringing Nature Home: Acorns feed deer, raccoons, turkeys, mice, black bear, squirrels, and even wood ducks. Cavities of oaks supply vital nesting sites for dozens of species of birds. Oaks are the quintessential wildlife plants: no other plant genus supports more species of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), thus providing more types of bird food than the mighty oak.
As can be expected, oaks are in trouble. Non-native trees, shrubs and invasives species dominate woodland, outcompeting oak seedlings. Oaks need full sun to reproduce and grow. Most of our oaks are old, making them vulnerable to drought and disease.
What can you do? This Earth Day plan on clearing out weedy trees and plants to let the sun shine on the forest floor. Remove non-native invasive plant species. Plant oak trees in sunny areas on your land. Get informed and befriend the amazing oak.