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Know Your Oaks Series – Week 1

Swamp White Oak Tree - Farmside Landscape & Design

Know Your Oaks Series – Week 1

Know Your Oaks Series – Week 1 Oaks!


During the first week of our Know Your Oaks series, we explored the Black Oak, the Swamp White Oak and the Chestnut Oak.


Black Oak – A member of the red oak family, Black Oaks can be found throughout the eastern half of the United States, down to the Florida panhandle. They tolerate poor soils and can reach a height from between 50-110 feet depending on their location. They have a deep, charcoal grey bark, with glossy leaves that have 5-9 lobes that terminate in 1-4 teeth. Their deep taproots let them tolerate dry sites but they don’t handle droughts well. (Main image – photo credit: Wikipedia – Black Oak Trees)


Swamp White Oaks – This white oak member prefers moist soils and can be found in the well-drained floodplains in central and southern forests from Illinois to New Jersey and from Florida to Texas. Swamp White Oaks can tolerate compacted soils, which makes them good options for urban and suburban settings, and oddly enough, are also drought tolerant. They produce brown, egg-shaped acorns with deep, bowl-shaped caps. Their leaves are wide and wavy, giving them the appearance of serrated leaves, with 9-14 rounded teeth and pointed tips. They can reach a height from 48-155 feet and are a great choice for a shade or street tree, with a life span of over 300 years.


Chestnut Oaks – A member of the white oak family, the Chestnut Oak has deeply ridged, dark, gray-brown bark – the thickest of any eastern North American oak. It’s sometimes called Rock Oak because it grows along mountain ridge tops and other rocky habitats. An outcome of its dry habitat and ridge top exposure, Chestnut Oaks usually grow to a height of only about 70 feet, but in more protected areas, can reach a height of over 140 feet. Their leaves hardly have indentations, looking almost serrated with 10 to 14 teeth instead of lobes. The acorn cap has gray scales with red tips, enclosing a third to half of an oval nut. The tree is found in rocky, upland forests and dry soil from Ontario and Louisiana to Georgia and Maine.


Looking for more Oaks? Head on over to Week 2 of Know Your Oaks, where we explore the Bear Oak, the Dwarf Chinquapin Oak and the Southern Red Oak varieties or head on back to the main Know Your Oaks page!