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Oak (White)

Quercus alba

What a grand tree, noble, majestic, durable both in appearance and in actual performance. In all seasons, I find this tree inspirational; never gaudy or flashy but always solidly attractive. The structure, foliage, bark color; all of its attributes come together to cause one to reflect...

Leaves are round-lobed which is typical of trees of the White Oak group. Leaves open in the spring with pinkish hues that change to a soft, light green and finally maturing to a rich, medium dark green. Fall color is usually a russet-red or burgundy. Young trees sometimes retain the foliage into the winter but older trees almost always have clean leaf drop in the fall.The bark is broken into small vertically arranged blocks or longer scaly strips. The bark color is a light ashy-grey that blends beautifully with the foliage in all stages of development. And when the growing season is ended, it continues its appeal in the dormant season blending its colors and textures with the solid structure and curves of the stem against the winter sky. This is truly a four season performer.

White Oak is a patient tree. It takes an investment of time for White Oak to become a stately and noble tree. Today’s buying public too often have the short-sighted demand for instant gratification. Also, White Oak does not tolerate change well. A new patio or driveway, excavation to fix a water line or simply soil compaction from people or equipment wreak havoc on the root systems of many of our landscape trees. White Oak is especially sensitive to changes and a small construction project can be the beginning of the end for an otherwise healthy tree.

As with any other endeavor, successful White Oak culture simply means working within the limitations. Success in placing this fantastic tree in your landscape can be accomplished with a few common sense guidelines…
1. Be sure you have a suitable environment. While not extremely hard to please, White Oak will not tolerate extremely poor soils. Do not attempt to place this tree in poorly drained or severely compacted soils. If growing conditions are marginal, you may want to substitute with Burr Oak or Swamp Chestnut Oak. Also be certain you have enough room for this tree to grow.
2. Think ahead. White Oak should be planted where it can grow undisturbed for centuries. Place the tree at a location where it is not likely be in the way of future construction or excavation sites.
3. Purchase trees that have been propagated and grown in root pruning containers. Trees grown by conventional methods are off to a very slow start at best. Root pruning containers are designed to create a fibrous root system. If properly installed and cared for, a root pruned tree will establish very quickly with little to no transplant shock.

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