Plant Family / Quercus - Oaks
Long-lived and trouble-free, Quercus (Oaks) can be deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs noted for their lobed or toothed leaves, massive trunks and limbs and majestic silhouettes. The deciduous species often display brilliant fall color. One of the most distinguishing features of oak trees is their acorns, which are a valuable source of food for small mammals and birds. Handsome, stately and adaptable, oaks are excellent specimen trees.
Noted for its brilliant fall color, Quercus coccinea (Scarlet Oak), is a large deciduous tree of pyramidal habit in youth, becoming upright-spreading and open with age. The foliage of large, lustrous, dark green leaves, adorned with 7-9 lobes, turns brilliant reds and scarlets in the fall. The magnificent fall color display may last 3-4 weeks. Inconspicuous yellow-green catkins appear in spring as the new leaves unfurl with a red hue. Prized for its spectacular fall color, poor soil tolerance, wind resistance, Scarlet Oak is a very popular landscape choice.
One of the easiest oaks to grow and transplant, Quercus palustris (Pink Oak), is a fast-growing, large deciduous tree adorned with a dense, pyramidal crown. Its lower branches are pendulous, the middle branches are horizontal and the upper branches are upright. This distinctive branching pattern can be admired in winter when its naked silhouette graces the landscape. The foliage of deeply cut, lustrous dark green leaves, adorned with 5-7 sharply pointed lobes, turns russet-red to bright crimson in the fall.
Long-lived and majestic, Quercus robur (English oak), is a large deciduous tree adorned with a magnificent, broad-spreading crown. The foliage of 3-7 lobed, rich blue-green leaves turns reddish-brown in the fall. Inconspicuous yellow-green catkins appear in spring as the leaves emerge. The short trunk and upright branches, with their ridged and furrowed dark gray bark, provide architectural elegance and winter interest. Its oval acorns are a valuable source of food for small mammals and birds, but English Oak may take up to 20 years before the first crop of acorns is produced.
Noted for its brilliant fall color, Quercus rubra (Red Oak), is a fast-growing, large deciduous tree adorned with an open, rounded to broad-spreading crown. The foliage of broad, lustrous dark green leaves, adorned with 7-11 toothed lobes, turns russet-red to bright red in the fall. Inconspicuous yellow-green catkins appear in spring as the leaves unfurl. Emerging a dusty bronze-red color, the spring foliage creates an effect as beautiful as any spring-flowering trees. Reminiscent of ski trails, the branches and upper trunk are marked with long, pale gray longitudinal lines.
Long-lived and majestic, Quercus virginiana (Live Oak), is a large evergreen tree adorned with a wide-spreading, rounded crown, its lower limbs stretching great distances from the trunk. Symbol of the south and its old plantations, its heavy branches are often graced with Spanish moss. Smooth-edged, the evergreen leathery leaves are shiny dark green with whitish undersides. Inconspicuous yellow-green catkins appear in spring. With age, the bark of the sinuously curved trunk and branches becomes very dark and cross-checked.