Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

White Oak

White Oak

Quercus alba

Full sun; medium to dry moisture level; best on deep, fertile loam but will grow in coarse to fine soils, including heavy clay, sandy, and sandy loams; moderately acid to slightly acid pH.

50-80 feet height by 50-80 feet spread; flowers when leaves come out in spring — male flowers as yellow-green, drooping catkins & female flowers as inconspicuous, reddish green single spikes; tan-brown acorns in fall, ¾ inch long, with ¼ of acorn covered by a cap which drops off when acorn is ripe.

Growth Rate: Slow

Maintenance: All oaks are susceptible to a large number of diseases, including oak wilt, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests including scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils. Notwithstanding these problems, oaks are generally considered to be low maintenance trees. Prune to maintain shape.

Propagation: Seed germination code A. Easy from seed. Due to a deep taproot, best to simply plant an acorn directly in ground or do container-grown seedlings in deep containers for no more than 1-2 years.

Native Region: Statewide

Picturesque, large canopy tree with huge, twisted limbs and a massive trunk covered with gray, shaggy bark. Excellent ornamental tree due to its broad, rounded crown, dense foliage and wine red to scarlet colored leaves in fall. One of the most adaptable oaks, growing most everywhere from edges of swamps to dry ridges and stabilized dunes. Good drought tolerance due to its deep root system. Long lived tree, commonly 350-400 years, and old trees of 500 years not uncommon. Cultivars available.

Very high wildlife value. Attracts songbirds, upland game birds, small mammals and deer. Attracts butterflies.

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