Consider Planting an Oak in Your Yard

Engelmann oak tree
Engelmann Oak, Quercus engelmannii. (NoahElhardt/Wikimedia Commons)

Red and white oaks (Quercus species) are great trees to plant in your yard and you will find one from the many oak species available to choose from. An oak is the state tree of Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland and New Jersey.

Oaks have always suffered from a slow growth image to the favor of planting quick-growing, short-lived native and exotic trees.

Habit and Range

You can find an oak species growing naturally in all 48 states.

There are white and live oaks in the West. Live, red and white oaks populate the East - oaks are everywhere and are the most popular tree in the United States. In fact, the oak has been selected as America's national tree by the National Arbor Day Foundation and found in every North American state and province.

Strong Cultivars

Best cultivars by preferred oak species:

  • White Oaks - 'Jasper', 'Lincoln', 'Crimson Spire'
  • Red and Scarlet Oaks - Red 'Splendens'
  • Live Oaks - 'Highrise', 'Southern Shade'

Oak Plant Hardiness Zones

Oaks hardy through zone 3 if selected from northern sources.

Expert Comments

"Bur oak...is a majestic, rugged tree, extremely variable even for an oak, and tolerates a wide range of habitats...under favorable conditions, it ranks among the most impressive of all trees." - Guy Sternberg, Native Trees for North American Landscapes

"If but one oak could grace my garden, this (scarlet oak) would be the choice."- Michael Dirr, Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs

"Amoung the 600 or so oak species...an elite few of these, in the right place at the right time, have inspired the kind of awe and legend attached to gods and heroes. Such trees are mainly of the white oak group." - Arthur Plotnik, The Urban Tree Book