White Oak is a long-lived, slow-growing tree, reaching 60 to 100 feet in height with a spread of 50
to 90 feet in its native bottomland soil (Fig. 1). Old specimens can be massive, growing to be several
hundred years old. Since trunks can be six feet in diameter leave plenty of room for this tree in the
landscape. The trunk flares out at the base lifting sidewalks and curbing if planted in tree lawns less
than eight feet wide. The red fall color is fairly reliable year to year and is outstanding among the
Oaks in USDA hardiness zones 8a and colder areas. Brown leaves may be held on the tree into the early
part of the winter.–Gilman and Watson
According to the USDA’s Woody Plant Seed Manual, Quercus is the largest genus of trees
native to the United States (Little 1979) and was designated as the “national tree” by the National Arbor Day Foundation in 2004.
White oaks typically don’t bear acorns until their twentieth year. The large seedcrop years are spaced out, every four to ten years.
Nurseries don’t do much of a job propagating these.
This time last year I had twenty of these juveniles in pots. This year I haven’t been able to find a single acorn. I’ve checked in four counties. Bicycled to neighborhood in CHO looking for acorns where they are typically plentiful. No joy.
Smallest acorn crop in 20 years. New York Times has the story!