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Plant Directory

White Oak: Quercus alba

White Oak is native to eastern North America. It is one of our most common, familiar and historic trees. White Oaks are rarely white, but typically have a silvery bark. The bark roughens as the tree ages, and appears to break into ragged blocks; on a very old tree, the bark may break into broad, scaly plates. White Oaks grow to be 60 to 100 ft, and can spread almost as wide.

The leaves of the White Oak are bluish-green and turn deep red in autumn. The tree prefers full sun and acidic, well-drained soil; an established White Oak is drought tolerant.


The trees are disease and pest resistant, and the trees can grow very old and large in the right conditions. White Oak is rarely planted as a specimen tree, because its long tap-root makes it difficult to transplant.


Advice from the arborists at Almstead:

Though generally disease resistant, the White Oak can be susceptible to bacterial leaf scorch. Although not curable, injection treatments can help prolong the life and health of the tree. The White Oak is also susceptible to jumping oak galls, but they are rarely damaging to a healthy tree.


Photo sources:

Top: Brian Lockhart, USDA Forest Service,

Bottom: Harborsparrow via Wikimedia Commons

A White Oak forest

The leaves of the White Oak emerge pink.

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