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Quercus alba

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Quercus alba
White oak

Culture: White Oak can be a difficult species to establish due to transplant difficulties associated with a very long tap-root. To maximize transplanting success, smaller-sized specimens are best used. Trees with trunk diameters of 4" or greater usually have a high failure rate. It also pays to buy this species from a high quality nursery that has undercut or pruned the roots several times in the production cycle. This pruning makes for a more fibrous root system and increases transplantability. Although usually transplanted B&B, some nurseries are growing them in containers with some success. The white oak prefers full sun and does best in moist and slightly acid soils, although it is not overly sensitive about its soil pH. This species is extremely sensitive to soil compaction. The author has seen many beautiful specimens killed by home construction in old stands of white oak.

White Oak has several insect and disease pests including borers, cankers, root rots and several leaf eating insects but it is fairly resistant to oak wilt. In spite of some problems, the white oak is a long-lived tree, with specimens commonly reaching 200 to 300 years of age or more in undisturbed sites.

Usage: The white oak makes an excellent specimen tree in large landscapes or parks. Its coarse, bold and picturesque branching combined with its interesting foliage and excellent fall color makes the use of this species well worth the effort to get it established. Do not use this species if soil compaction is expected. The White Oak is the state tree of Illinois. Whiskey barrels are made from the wood of White oak.

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