5 White Oak Tree Facts That Might Surprise You
The white oak tree has been around for centuries. Its branches have been known to create a perfect shaded spot for loungers, especially if you don’t mind being struck by the occasional acorn. For centuries, both people and animals have enjoyed this tree and will continue to do so for some time.
Keeping these trees growing healthy and strong can sometimes require human intervention. If there’s a white oak tree on your property, know that having a tree service company like Mr. Tree perform occasional maintenance can keep your tree looking great all year long.
Do you think you know everything there is to know about white oak trees? Here are a few white oak tree facts that will either surprise you or just confirm that you love white oaks as much as you say you do.
They Grow Slowly and Live Long
The white oak is definitely not a small tree, though it can take its good time growing. When given the chance, a white oak tree is capable of growing over 100 feet tall, but on average, it usually grows to around 80 to 100 feet tall. However, the tree is never in a rush.
Some white oaks have been known to live for well over 500 years and can exceed that by centuries if planted in the right environment. So if your white oak isn’t growing at the speed you’d like it to, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. And if you’re second-guessing yourself, have a tree servicing company check it out for you.
They Grow Both Flowers and Acorns
If you’re looking into getting a white oak tree, know that it’s both a flower- and acorn-producing tree. Though it can take up to 20 years for a white oak to start producing acorns, once it does, they can come in thousands at a time.
The acorns produced by the white oak tree are oval, with small caps on them, and produced only every four to six years, which gives us all something to look forward to. But their acorns aren’t just for show. A large variety of animals include acorns in their diets. Of course, birds and small mammals feast on acorns, but larger animals like bears also eat them as a snack. If you have a white oak on your property, you can look forward to many critters visiting it.
Acorns aren’t the only thing growing from the branches of white oak trees. White oak trees are unique because they grow both male and female flowers. The male flowers range between two and four inches long and are green or yellowish in color, while the female flower appears slightly red in color. Acorns are actually fruit from the fertilized female flower.
Their Wood Is Used in Many Different Ways
Sure, you’ve probably seen a white oak in its natural habitat, but you could have also seen it in places you’d least expect. That’s because white oaks are popularly used in the creation of many different things.
One of the ways people have been using the wood from white oaks is for construction. As far back as the late 1700s, people have been using white oak wood to build ships. The famous USS Constitution, commissioned by George Washington in 1974, was constructed using wood from white oaks. It’s said that the ship’s hull, which consisted of three layers, had both an outer and inner horizontal layer that were constructed from white oak. And people still use this wood for construction today, as it’s a popular feature in many homes, as well as furniture.
More recently, people have been using the wood to help create something entirely different: bourbon. The wood from white oaks is known to assist bourbon in attaining its amber hue and rich flavor. This is why the barrels that people let their bourbon age in are usually constructed from white oak.
It’s Native to North America
One of the coolest white oak tree facts is that it’s native to North America. This tree has been a staple in this area for centuries and continues to thrive in many regions. In the US, the white oak tree can be found growing from Minnesota to Maine and continues to be found in states as far south as Florida. People have been using the fruit from white oaks in North America for just as long. Native Americans were known to use the acorns by leaching the nut meat to remove the tannins and then grinding it into flour for cooking.
It’s the State Tree for Three States
Yes, the white oak is holding the title of state tree for not just one or two states, but three! Illinois, Connecticut, and Maryland all claim this tree as their state tree.
In Illinois, you won’t be able to visit a county that doesn’t have at least one white oak tree in its borders. They declared it their state tree in 1973, after creating a special poll for the title and having 900,000 school-aged children vote on the matter.
Maryland is another state that takes pride in the white oaks in their area. They designated the tree as their state tree in 1941, mostly due to having one of the oldest white oak trees in the nation within their state. They named it the Wye Oak, and it was estimated to be nearly 500 years old.
Connecticut is the third state to have a white oak as its state tree, though they chose to have one specific tree as their symbol. This white oak tree is called the Charter Oak, which is said to have been over 500 years old when it was found in the 1600s. It fell in the mid-1800s. The tree is even featured on their state quarter.
Do you have a white oak tree that needs servicing? Making sure your tree is properly trimmed, pruned, and maintained are the best ways to ensure it lives a long healthy life. The staff at Mr. Tree in Portland, Oregon, is knowledgeable on how to best service your white oak tree.