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8 Different Types of Oak Trees (With Pictures)

huge old oak tree

Besides their majestic and noble look, oak trees are a beauty to behold. There is nothing like standing or sitting under a big, magnificent, ancient tree with a large tree trunk while you gaze at the treetop.

Well, these ancient trees are known for their ability to grow in different environments. Because of this ability, oak trees also come in so many types.

For instance, the United States alone has 90 different oak tree types, all native and growing in different parts of the country. There are two main categories of oak trees among the hundreds available: red oak and white oak trees. One of the most famous oaks in the United States is the 65-foot-tall Angel Oak, believed to be over 400 years old.

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The 8 Different Types of Oak Trees

Many people can tell if a tree is an oak by looking at it, but they might not count all the different types of oaks available.

Red oak tree acorns usually take two years to mature, while white oak acorns will take a year to reach maturity. Another clever way to differentiate between the two is to look at their leaf lobes; while the red oak tree leaves meet at a point, the white oak tree has round-ended leaves.

Here are the 8 types of oak trees.

1. Quercus Rubra (Red Oak)

Quercus rubra red oak tree
Image Credit: Maren Winter, Shutterstock

Also known as northern red oak, Quercus Rubra is medium-sized oak with pointed leaves. In the United States, this tree is a common feature as it grows abundantly in the woodlands of the eastern part of the country.

The leaves of Quercus Rubra usually have seven pointed lobes, and its bark has both brown and grey colors. One unique characteristic about this type is that it does not take too much time to grow, as is the case with other oak trees.

2. Chestnut Oak (White Oak)

The Chestnut Oak is a massive tree in the white oak category that can grow up to 100 feet. While most white oak trees have a light grey bark, the Chestnut Oak tree’s bark is very dark. The tree’s bark also tends to be more rigid compared to other white oak tree barks.

Also known as Quercus Montana, this white oak tree has a rounded top, and its trunk diameter can reach up to 4 inches. The tree can adapt and grow well in different soil conditions, growing tallest in rich and well-drained soils.

3. Bur Oak (White Oak)

Bur Oak tree
Image Credit: Steve Quinlan, Shutterstock

They are also known as Quercus Macrocarpa and are among the massive oak trees growing up to 70 to 80 feet tall. The bur oak has a unique branch structure with a deeply furrowed trunk, thus making it unique among many white oak trees.

4. Willow Oak (Red Oak)

The willow oak of Quercus Phellos is a Willow tree look alike. It grows to be up to 60 to 75 feet tall (18 -23 meters).

The Willow Oak is a red oak tree, but you cannot identify it using the leaves option. The leaves of the willow oak do not have lobed leaves like most red oaks.

If you want to identify it, look closely at the leaves; they tend to be similar to those of the Willow tree.

5. Post Oak (White Oak)

Autumn Post Oak
Image Credit: Melinda Fawver, Shutterstock

Its names can be traced back to its use in making fence posts. It is a white oak but a smaller one growing to be up to 50 to 70 feet, while its diameter is 1 to 2 feet.

Post Oak is the best for making posts, thanks to its smaller trunk that makes shaping and cutting the posts easier.

6. Black Oak (Red Oak)

Don’t be confused – Black Oak (Quercus Velutina) is a type of red oak tree. This is a massive tree with heights of up to 100 feet tall and a trunk of 3 to 4 feet wide.

One unique characteristic of the black oak tree is that it has glossy-looking leaves, unlike many other red oaks. Also, the bark of the Quercus Velutina is easily peelable, making it the best for firewood.

7. Eastern White Oak (White Oak)

eastern White Oak tree
Image Credit: TippyTortue, Shutterstock

They are also known as Quercus Alba, and they are among the huge oaks in the white oak category of trees. The leaves of this tree are evenly lobed and appear to be whitish on their underside. Their trunk is furrowed and has the typical light grey color of a white oak tree.

The Eastern White Oak prides itself in having rot-resistant wood, making it excellent for exterior and interior construction. It also burns red hot; thus, it is great for heating the home or cooking with firewood.

8. Scarlet Oak (Red Oak)

The Scarlet Oak is a small to medium-sized oak that grows between 40 to 50 feet tall and 1to 2 feet and sometimes but rarely 3 feet. The tree is a bit different than most red oaks with deeply lobed leaves plus hairless and brown acorns. The bark of this tree is deeply furrowed with a medium-dark to a deep dark color.

Related Read: White Oak vs Red Oak Tree: What’s the Difference?

Why Is the Oak Tree So Special?

First, oaks are huge and with large shades. They are also ancient trees, and the fact that they can grow in any environment explains why there are over 600 types of oak trees.

Oak trees are sometimes considered an investment because of their many uses. An oak tree is an investment because it takes so long for an oak to grow to full maturity. However, the wait is worth it – the shade and the many uses of its wood make the long wait worth it.

Oaks also provide a magnificent shade for homes in hot environments. It not only gives shade but also enhances the aesthetic look of the whole yard.

The bark of this tree also has so many uses. For instance, it’s used to make the barrels that store alcohol, and it is also used to make drums in China.

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With more than 600 known types of oak trees, identifying the type of oak tree you have at home or the one you see on the street doesn’t have to be difficult. Surprisingly, each oak tree has some character that distinguishes it from the rest. Therefore, you can easily identify the types if you know what to look for.

You might also be interested in: How To Cut Down a Tree With a Chainsaw

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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