Oak trees have stood as a symbol of strength throughout history as well as mythology. With more than 600 different species, the oak tree is prized for its sturdy wood and general beauty. This deciduous tree produces fruit known as acorns that attract many forms of wildlife. The more common species of oak include bur and white oak. Recognizing their distinct features helps you to identify and better appreciate the ecology surrounding these trees.
The bur oak is a slow-growing tree known for its long life span. It is generally tolerant of urban conditions. The wood of a bur oak is strong and prized as a source of timber. After 10 years in the nursery, the bur oak will begin to bear acorns. The leaves are a glossy, dark green with rounded lobes separated by two center indentations.
The English oak tree is most commonly utilized as a shade tree. The branches spread out almost horizontally, providing a dense shade covering. English oaks are tolerant of heavy clay soils and are generally pest-free. In more humid climates, powdery mildew can be found on its leaves. The leaves are green with oblong lobes.
As one of the faster-growing oaks, the sawtooth oak can bear acorns in as little as five to six years. The total height tops out at between 40 and 50 feet. Sawtooth oak leaves are dark green and glossy and possess a serrated lobe with veins that end with stubbly teeth. The jagged edges of the leaves gave the sawtooth oak its name. This variety is easily transplanted because of its tolerance of most soils and climates; it is known for its adaptability.
Northern Red Oak
The northern red oak is known for its spectacular fall foliage, with leaves turning a dark red. The massive branches of this tree swoop low to the ground, creating nice shade. After 10 or 12 years, the tree will begin producing acorns. The northern red oak is also a valuable tree for timber because of its strong wood.
The white oak is similar to the English oak. This majestic tree has a long life span, so it needs plenty of room to mature properly. The foliage is a dark, bluish green with a silvery shaded underside. As a hardy and rugged oak tree, the white oak is commonly used for lumber. These trees can reach heights of up to 100 feet and attract many forms of wildlife with their massive production of acorns.