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white oak Quercus alba play

White oak is a deciduous species of wide distribution across the eastern U.S. It is reknowned for its quality wood, acorn production for wildlife, and picturesque stature in old age.

Click to see more images.range map fall color wood grain

Light
White oak's intermediate shade tolerance allows for regeneration by shelterwood or group selection methods. Clearcutting is feasible if white oak saplings are numerous in the understory. White oak stump sprouts, and this may compliment regeneration. Reduction of competition will help counter white oak's slow growth.

Water
White oak can be found on a variety of soils, but is most commonly associated with coves and deep, moist soils.

Growth

Size
A very large tree; when open grown, white oaks have rugged, irregular crowns that are wide spreading, with a stocky bole. In the forest crowns are upright and oval with trees reaching up to 100 feet tall and several feet in diameter.

Timber Value
White oak is used for lumber for beams, railroad ties, bridge planking, mine timbers, flooring, furniture, veneer, barrel staves, etc.

Wildlife Value
Over 180 wildlife species have been reported to use white oak acorns for food. Twigs and foliage are browsed by deer.
Attracts squirrels, mice, chipmunks, raccoons, bluejays, crows, woodpeckers, turkeys, quail, ducks, deer

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
White oak can grow to a very large size and live 3 to 5 centuries. It is a useful tree, producing edible acorns (soak them first to wash out tannins), preferred by turkey and deer. The wood is used for "tight cooperage" and is frequently used for whiskey and wine barrels. It is also used for flooring, furniture and interior finishing. It is considered by some to be the best wood of all the white oak species.

Latin Meaning
Quercus: Latin name / alba: white

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.