Oak trees are a large specimen that many people plant in their home landscape for shade. The tree requires space as it grows to accommodate the large branch spread and mature height. Oak trees also have a large root system that damages easily when the surrounding soil becomes compacted or the roots encounter obstacles that prevent their natural spread.
An oak tree is classified as a deciduous broadleaf that reaches a height up to 100 feet with a branch spread out to 80 feet. The tree has a large root system that grows past the branch tips an additional distance of one-third the length from the trunk to the drip line.
Choose to plant an oak tree in an area that has a well-draining soil such as a sandy loam to prevent standing water around the trunk and over the root system. The tree prefers an acidic soil pH, which you can amend prior to planting by adding ground rock sulfur to lower the pH. Verify the planting area receives full to partial sunlight, as this is preferred for best growth.
Plant the oak tree in a hole that is two times as wide as the root ball and the same depth. Place the root ball into the hole so the top of the root ball is at ground level. Set multiple oak trees at a distance of 50 to 80 feet apart to allow room for the branch spread. Verify the mature size of the variety of oak tree as this will give you the best understanding of the size requirements for the tree.
Care and Maintenance
Oak trees prefer a dry soil and do not require supplemental water application during the growing season once the tree becomes established. Water newly planted trees four to five times a week for the first month by applying a deep soaking of water to a depth of 12 to 18 inches. Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic bark mulch over the root ball to hold moisture in the soil and prevent weeds growing around the tree. Oak trees only require fertilization if the tree shows signs of poor growth.
Take into account the mature size of the oak tree when choosing a planting location to prevent selecting a site too close to buildings or overhead obstructions. Prune the oak tree only to remove damaged or dead branches since excessive removal may reduce tree vigor. Remove the branches during the dormant season to prevent open wounds that allow diseases to enter the tree.