Oak Family (Quercus sp.)
Generally large, long lived trees, Oaks are valued for both their timber and their stately beauty. Most members of the large Oak family are deciduous, losing their leaves in early winter, while some southern and southwestern Oaks are evergreen. Northern Oaks produce the familiar acorn, loved by wildlife and show gorgeous fall color. Many Oaks are native to the US and many specimens are listed as historic trees because they live so long.
Oaks can be organized into three main groups based on leaf shape - Red Oaks, White Oaks, and Live Oaks. The Red Oak group and the Live Oak group are unique to the Western Hemisphere while the White Oak group includes species native to Europe and Asia as well as North America. The Red Oaks have darker bark, bristly-tipped leaves and acorns that require two years to mature. White Oaks have whitish bark, rounded leaves and acorns that mature in one year. Trees in the Live Oak group have oval leaves with rounded tips. The Red Oak family is somewhat more susceptible to the serious Oak Wilt fungal disease, dying more quickly when infected than do the members of the White Oak family or the Live Oak family. In this section we discuss the Northern Red Oak, the Pin Oak, and the Scarlet Oak from the Red Oak family and cover the White Oak, Chinquapin Oak, English Oak, and Bur Oak in the White Oak family. Then we cover the Live Oak all by itself.