Oak, Quercus

The oak’s classic shape, outstanding fall color, deep roots and long life are some of its many assets. While typically slow growing, these classic trees are most popularly used as shade trees in our hot Texas climate.


Most oaks grow well in full sun, in fertile, slightly acidic, moist, well-drained soil. These trees can be difficult to establish; transplant them only when they are young. Oaks grow fast for their first 10 years of life and then slow down.


Oaks are large trees that are best as specimens or for groves in parks and large gardens. Do not disturb the ground around the base of an oak; these trees are very sensitive to changes in grade. Remember that live oaks are evergreen and will produce heavy shade year-round as they mature.


Here are some of the best selections for Texas Q. buckleyi (Texas red oak) medium sized Texas native with good fall color, Q. macrocarpa (bur oak, mossycup oak) is a large, broad tree with furrowed bark, growing 50–80' tall and wide. Q. virgniana (live oak) a Texas native, this large evergreen is commonly used as a shade tree. Q. shumardii (Shumard oak, Shumard red oak) is a broad, spreading tree with red fall color. This species grows 40–70' tall and 40–60' wide. Q. polymorpha (Mexican white oak, monterrey oak) is a medium-sized oak good for urban spaces, grows to 40-feet tall with rounded canopy. Many other species.

Features: large, rounded, spreading, deciduous tree; summer and fall foliage; attractive bark; acorns

Height: 40’–80'

Spread: 40–100'

Hardiness: zones 4–9

Sidebar: Oaks belong to one of two groups, the Red Oak Group (Erythrobalanus), or the White Oak Group (Lepidobalanus). Red oaks have leaves that are typically acutely lobed with hair-like awns on the edge and acorns that mature on the previous year’s wood. White oaks have leaves that are typically round lobed with no awns and acorns that mature on the current season’s wood.

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