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The Best Oak Trees

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

Oak trees are large, majestic, attractive trees. These deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and have hard wood, which is often used to make furniture. Oak trees can be divided into two categories. The first consists of the red oaks, which have points on the leaves and acorns that mature and sprout in the spring. The second are white oaks, which have smooth, rounded leaves and have acorns that mature in the fall.

White Oak

White oak trees are a member of the white oak group. These slow-growing, large trees have attractive foliage that starts out pinkish-gray in the spring and turns green in the summer. In the fall, it becomes deep red in color. White oak trees are one of the best varieties of oak trees to plant because they are known to be resistant to disease and insects. The tree should be planted in full sun and moist, well-drained, loamy soil. White oak trees can grow more than 100 feet tall, with an equally wide canopy spread.

Pin Oak

Pin oak trees are one of the best oak trees to plant in cities and near streets, driveways or any other pavement because the trunk is straight and does not spread, unlike many other oaks. Pin oaks are also easy to grow and transplant and tolerate pollution well. They are members of the red oak group. The attractive foliage in the fall, which turns different colors of orange and red, also brings beauty to city streets.

Willow Oak

Willow oaks are an excellent choice if you want a fast-growing shade tree. These members of the red oak group will grow up to 25 feet tall in only 12 years. Willow oaks are also hardy, making them a great choice for poor soil or urban locations. The narrow, drooping green leaves give them a delicate, graceful appearance, and the acorns are not as messy as those of other oak trees. The tree is pyramidal in shape and can grow up to 75 feet tall and 60 feet wide.

Live Oak

If you live near a coast, consider the live oak tree. Like the white oak, it is a member of the white oak group. Similar in looks to the white oak, this tree is much smaller, reaching a maximum height of only 40 feet. The live oak, however, will tolerate salty soil and salt air, making it the perfect oak for growing near the ocean. This oak tree thrives in full sun.