White oak is a massive, long-lived stately tree with wide-spreading horizontal branches and wine-red fall color. This native tree provides shade for larger landscapes and parks.
This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
This plant has some related hybrids. Go to list of related hybrids.
All common names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites
- Messy fruit/plant parts
- Fall color
Seasons of Interest:
- mid fall,
- late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Game birds,
- Game mammals,
- Migrant birds,
- Small mammals
Tree & Plant Care
Majestic state tree of Illinois. A long-lived tree for large landscapes and parks.
Does not tolerate wet conditions, best planted in well-drained sites.
Prune oaks in the dormant season to avoid attracting beetles that may carry oak wilt.
Roots are sensitve to soil disturbances, such as compaction and construction.
Disease, pests, and problems
Difficult to transplant due to taproot.
Oak wilt, anthracnose, two-lined chestnut borer, galls and scale are possible problems
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.
Native geographic location and habitat
Bark color and texture
Gray to light tan, with thick overlapping plates or thick ridges.
Often large sections of bark on trunk is smooth due to a harmless fungus, called smooth patch.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
New leaves emerge pinkish, changing to dark green, fall color is a wine red.
Leaf margins are rounded. Lobes can be small or large.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Drooping, male catkins appear in April.
Female flowers are inconspicuous tiny spikes in axils of new leaves.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
1-inch long, single or paired nut is enclosed with a warty cap.
Acorns ripen in fall and can be considered a litter problem, especially near sidewalks and patios.
Crimson Spire™ oak (Quercus 'Crimschmidt'): a hybrid between English oak (Quercus robur) and White oak (Quercus alba). It was selected for a narrow form (15 feet wide) and good red fall color. It is tolerant of a wide range of conditions
Streetspire® oak (Quercus robur x alba 'JFS-KW1QX'): A narrow, columnar cultivar gorwing 45 feet tall and only 14 feet wide; powdery mildew resistant; red fall color.