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White Oak (Quercus alba)



Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech (first published May 2009, last reviewed March 2024)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 100 feet

Spread: 80 feet

Shape: Broad-rounded

White oak is a magnificent large spreading tree. This species is somewhat slow growing but is well worth the wait. Do not plant this tree in an area that is apt to be subjected to soil compaction.

Plant Needs:

Zone: 5 to 9

Moisture: Moist, or dry

pH Range: 3.7 to 6.8

Light: Partial shade to full sun

Soil Type: Sandy, loam, clay loam


Suggested uses for this plant include specimen plant and shade tree.

Planting Notes:

Transplant as a small tree with roots balled and burlapped. A difficult species to transplant. For best results, plant only in the spring.

Grows in many soil types, but prefers deep, moist, well-drained, acid soil and full sun. Requires large area to grow.

Do not plant this species in soil that is compacted or apt to be compacted via pedestrian traffic or otherwise.


Requires almost no maintenance.

Prune in winter or early spring; however, dead or damaged wood can be removed anytime.


More resistant to diseases and insects than other oak trees. Susceptible to oak scale.
Powdery mildew may occur in summer.


Consult local garden centers, historic or public gardens and arboreta regarding cultivars and related species that grow well in your area.

Cultivars of Quercus alba
No important cultivars.


A majestic, wide-spreading specimen for spacious locations.
In areas where tree is native, this species becomes a handsome, durable, long-lived tree. Arguably, this species is the king of eastern forests.
Acorns from this tree provide food for many animals.

This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

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Publication Date

March 7, 2024

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