White Oak

“A Prized, Historic Tree”

White oak is the reigning tree over its growth range. Some of the largest and most famous trees are oaks. The wood has been highly prized since colonial times, and was used in construction of the USS Constitution, a warship named by President George Washington.

White oak acorns

Tyloses in the cells help make oak wood water- and rot-resistant. It’s the best choice for wine, whiskey, and bourbon barrels. Oak trees can live for centuries under favorable conditions, becoming massive, and as wide as tall.


  • Hardy from Zones 3 to 9
  • Fairly tolerant of a variety of habitats, in moderately acid and alkaline soils
  • Prefers full sun, and does best in deep, moist, rich soils within pH of 5.5 to 6.5, and a mulch bed
  • Requires a large space to grow; slow growth and eventual massive size make it an infrequent ornamental or street tree


  • Most problems are minor, but repeated defoliations by gypsy moths can be fatal
  • A root rot caused by the fungus Armillaria mellea attacks weakened trees
  • Oak wilt, a vascular disease caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, is potentially the most destructive disease of white oak
  • Anthracnose can be a problem in wet seasons
  • Sensitive to soil disturbances such as compaction caused by construction
  • Not tolerant of urban conditions

Bartlett Management Practices

  • Regular pruning may not be necessary because branches are strong and resistant to breakage
  • Important to mulch beneath the canopy to eliminate grass competition and to maximize health and growth

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Posted in Tree Species
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