20 - White Oak
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Basic Information about this tree
  • Scientific Name, Family: Quercus alba

    Common Names:White Oak, Eastern White Oak, Stave Oak

    Native or invasive: Native

    Deciduous or Evergreen: Deciduous

    Image of the tree you are viewingGPS Coordinates 45.00311N Latitude 92.9034 W

  • Deciduous
  • Branch Structure: Broad canopy; young trees are typically pyramidal in form, but as the tree matures it has a rounded and broad crown.

  • Typical height and width at maturity: 65-100 ft tall by 50-80 ft wide

  • Typical longevity: 350 – 500 years.

  • Soil, water, sunlight preferences:  Full sun with chalky, loam soils.  Prefers dry woods, gravelly ridges, sandy plains, rich uplands and moist bottoms.

  • Growth habit of roots: The deep taproot makes it difficult to transplant.

Mature Tree in Winter/ Summer


Leaves in Summer / Fall


Flowers - Separate male and female flowers


Acorn Unripe / Ripe


Bark of Mature Tree


Uses in Traditional and Modern Eras

Value for wildlife: This long-lived tree is a prolific supporter of wildlife for food and habitat. It supports a wide variety of butterflies and moths plus small mammals and songbirds.

Utility for Humans: White oak refers to color of the processed wood used for construction, wine/whiskey barrels, musical instruments, and weapons in Japanese martial arts.  The acorns of white oak are edible (to humans) after tannins are leached or boiled out. Its uses include railroad ties and timbers, flooring, furniture and paneling. Its density has also make it one of the most popular fire woods.

Homeowner’s CornerRarely used as an ornamental tree due to its large size, but can work well with coffeeberry or sword fern. However, it should not be planted near structures or pavement due to its eventual size. It is also toxic to horses.

Numerous insect and disease pests, but the damage is rarely significant. The white oak is susceptible to oak wilt, anthracnose, cankers, leaf spots, powdery mildew, and oak leaf blister. Potential pests include scales, oak skeletonizers, leaf miners, aphids, galls, orangestriped oakworm, buck moth, whitemarked tussock moth, and lace bugs. Chlorosis can occur if the pH in the soil is too high, resulting in iron deficiency. White oak is sensitive to soil compaction and susceptible to wind damage. It can be messy.

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