Preeminent tree over its range – some of the largest and most famous trees. Highly prized wood since colonial times, used in the USS Constitution. Tyloses in cells help make the wood water- and rot-resistant, making it the choice for wine, whiskey and bourbon barrels. Lives for centuries under favorable conditions, becoming massive, and as wide as tall.
Culture for White Oak
Hardy from zones 3 to 9. Fairly tolerant of a variety of habitats, in moderately acid and alkaline soils. It is mainly a lowland tree, not adapted to dry habitats. Prefers full sun, and does best in deep, moist, rich soils with in pH of 5.5 to 6.5, and a mulch bed. An infrequent ornamental or street tree due to its slow growth and eventual massive size.
Concerns about White Oak
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. White oak is sensitive to soil disturbances like construction. Not tolerant of urban conditions.
Management Practices for White Oak
Branches are strong and resistant to breakage, so regular pruning might not be necessary. Requires a large space to grow. Important to mulch beneath the canopy to eliminate grass competition and maximize health and growth. Might require irrigation during dry periods.