Quercus alba

White Oak




  • eastern and central U. S.
  • zone 4, possibly warmer parts of 3

Habit and Form

  • a large, deciduous tree
  • 60 to 80' tall
  • as wide or wider, than tall
  • pyramidal when young
  • rounded, broad-rounded or upright rounded when mature
  • branching is irregular and wide-spreading; interesting

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • leaves are 4" to 8" long
  • rounded lobes
  • 5 to 9 lobes per leaf
  • color is dull, blue-green when mature
  • new leaves are a bright, grayish green

Autumn Foliage

  • purple-red
  • generally fairly showy
  • color develops late
  • color is long lasting


  • monoecious
  • male flowers are pendulous yellow-green catkins
  • blooms in May
  • messy


  • elongated acorn in pairs on singly
  • 0.75" to 1" long
  • bowl-like cap is bumpy
  • acorns mature in a single season
  • fruit can be numerous


  • white or light gray, flaky bark
  • ornamentally attractive


  • full sun
  • acidic soil
  • transplant at a small size
  • can be difficult to move and establish
  • dislikes being disturbed
  • slow-growing

Landscape Use

  • shade tree
  • for large area
  • existing native trees are often saved during construction
  • one of the most attractive oaks
  • long-lived and desirable


  • slow-growing
  • difficult to transplant and establish
  • numerous caterpillar prefers feeding on white oak, esp. gypsy moth
  • numerous insect and disease pests, but damage is rarely significant

ID Features

  • leaves with rounded lobes
  • ashy gray or white, flaky bark
  • small, elongated acorns


  • by seed


  • none

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.