An oak tree © Patrick Pleul
Small oak saplings are distributed in Herford on Reformation Day. They come from the Luther oak in the village. The preparation of this special gift to the worshippers started a year ago.
In the shadow of St. John's Church in Herford, a living memorial to Martin Luther has been growing for a hundred years: an American red oak tree. The rather unusual nature of this Lutheran oak – which is usually a live oak – is probably due to the spirit of the times. Because in the last century it was on vogue to plant parks and free-standing areas with such red oaks.
"The red oak grows as fast as our beech tree. After ten years, you can see that it is becoming a real tree, and after twenty to thirty years, it has a proper trunk," explains Herwart Siebert. He is a forester in Herford and responsible for the Luther oak tree.
A gift for the faithful
For Reformation Day last fall, he and his helpers collected acorns, took them to a nursery, where small seedlings were grown from the acorns. They have now grown into saplings, about as high as a school ruler and with a few green leaves each.
To the 500. The young oaks are given away on the 50th anniversary of the Reformation. "Packed in a small pot, they can be taken elegantly after the service," says Siebert.
The oak savior of Herford?
By the way, this is how Siebert and his team "saved the lives of the little oaks". Indeed, if they had not been picked up a year ago and given to a nursery, "the sexton would probably have removed them with the lawn mower," Siebert confirmed the alternative fate of the fruit.
Justifying the expert adds, however: "There should not be a whole oak forest growing in front of St. John's Church".