small oak tree damaged
Congratulations for planting an oak! That is one of my passions--I grow them from acorns, in fact.
Regarding the damage: if it goes around the whole trunk, then the tree will die. If not, then it can survive, but will be on life support, so make sure to keep it unstressed (watering regularly, providing a balanced fertilizer in spring).
One note: smaller oak trees have a built-in tendency to become a phoneix--to send up a new shoot--if the top portion is killed. This is a natural reaction to animal browsing. So if the top part of your tree is dead, the roots may resprout. And trust me, the new sapling will grow much quicker than expected, because it has a fully developed root system to rely on. I've seen normally slow-growing white oaks grow like poplar trees when this has happened!
Luke Miller, editor
Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living magazine
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