Oaks support hundreds of butterfly and moth species
Five hundred and thirty-four to be exact. An oak tree supports more moths and butterflies than any other native tree species, and more than non-native species. Why is this important? Because we need insects for our ecosystem to function properly.
Not all oaks take forever to grow!
Some will take a bit longer than others, but even small oaks will support a lot of insects. Pin Oak and Willow Oak are fast growing oaks. (Two foot or more a year.). Red oak is just a tad slower. White oak, a gorgeous tree, is worth the wait at about a foot or so a year.
Great fall color
Their fall colors range from bright to muted shades of yellow, red and bronze. Their image is almost synonymous with autumn here in the deciduous Mid-Atlantic area.
A tree for posterity
Many live 200 years or more. Plant an oak tree today for your grandchildren. As the old adage goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.
The insect life they support helps feed songbirds. Birds need energy for migration and breeding. Baby birds need food. With oak trees, there are enough insects to support birds and to keep our beneficial insect populations robust.
Oaks require sun to grow. But what happens underneath their canopies? SHADE for you!
An oak for almost every site
Pin and Swamp White tolerate moist soil. Swamp White can even tolerate occasional standing water. Scarlet, Chestnut, and White tolerate thin dry soil. Chinkapin and Bur are tolerant of alkaline soils.
Acorns are relished by many animal species: deer, gray squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks, wild turkeys, crows, flying squirrels, rabbits, opossums, blue jays, quail, raccoons, wood ducks—more than 100 U.S. vertebrate species eat acorns. Not to mention the artistic and visual interest these beautiful nuts provide.
Some oaks retain their leaves through the winter, creating a lovely contrast to bare branches elsewhere. (Black, Pin, Shingle, and White Oaks). Others have deep furrowed bark to provide interest. (Bur, Chestnut, and Scarlet Oaks).
Here’s a quick run down of the native oaks for our area.
Some species of oak are tap-rooted and are best transplanted as young container trees. No matter whether it is tap rooted or not, planting a young tree is easier and more likely to succeed than planting a large tree. The oaks we offer are in containers that are easily transported in your vehicle. Starting small is best!
Quercus alba – White Oak. Moist, well-drained soil best, but tolerates less than ideal. Broad, dense crown. Grows 12’-15’ over a 10 to 12 year period, reaching 80 feet or so. Fall color is brown to rich red.
Quercus bicolor – Swamp White Oak. Dry to wet soil, occasional standing water OK. Dense wide spreading crown. 50’-60’ tall. Drought tolerant once established. Golden yellow fall color.
Quercus coccinea – Scarlet Oak. Dry to moist, well drained soil. Irregular open crown to 75 feet. Tolerates very dry.
Quercus imbricaria – Shingle Oak. Dry to moist, well drained soil. Broadly rounded, dense crown. To 75 feet.
Quercus macrocarpa – Bur Oak. Dry to wet, wide spreading open crown. One of the largest and most majestic of the oaks. Grows 15’-20’ over a 20 year period, to about 80’. Fall color muted yellow to yellow-green or yellow-brown. Will grow in clay. More tolerant of city conditions than other oaks.
Quercus muhlenbergii – Chinkapin Oak. Dry to moist soil. Open, rounded crown to 50 feet. Can tolerate prolonged dry conditions once established. Fall color yellow to orange-brown to brown.
Quercus palustris – Pin Oak. Moist to wet soil, will tolerate occasional shallow standing water and drier soil once established.. Strongly pyramidal when young, open and spreading with age. Fast growing up to 100’. Grows 12’-15’ in a 5 to 7 year period. Fall color russet, bronze, or red.
Quercus phellos Willow Oak. – Moist to wet soil. Will tolerate occasional standing water and drier soil once established. Narrow leaves make this oak the finest textured of the oaks. 40’-60’ with oblong oval crown. Fall color yellow to yellow -brown to russet red.
Quercus prinus- Chestnut Oak. Dry to moist well drained soil. R0unded dense crown to 70 feet. The most drought tolerant of the oaks, along with Bur and Scarlet. Can grow 12’-15’ over 7 to 10 year period. Does well in dry, rocky soil.
Quercus rubra – Red Oak. Moist to well drained soil. Rounded, dense crown, to 75 feet. Red oak grows about twice as fast as white oak, but are a bit less tolerant of soil moisture variations. Fast growing.
Quercus velutina – Black Oak. 50’-60’ in height, irregular crown. Often found on poor,dry sandy or heavy clay hillsides. Tolerates very dry soil.