Oak Tree Care

Oak trees have signified strength for ages. A single oak tree can live up to two centuries and remain with sturdy trunks and branches. Oaks mostly grow in temperate regions in northern and southern hemispheres.

Since oaks can live for so long, they can come to unimaginable heights. The oldest Oak known in the US is 105 feet tall, with its crown stretching 158 feet. That said, an Oak tree needs proper care such as trimming and space for its crown and root system. Here, we'll look at some of the best practices and care tips to make sure your Oak tree lasts a while.

Growing Oak Trees

For ease of identification, the vast species of oaks are divided into two; white oaks and red oaks. You can easily identify them by looking at the shape of the leaves. White oaks have rounded leaves at its edges while the red oak leaves have pointed lobes with small bristles.

You can easily grow oak trees from acorns. Here's how

First off, if you want to pick the best acorns, wait for the second flush to fall. Take several handfuls and seed them in small seedling containers. Make sure you take more than enough acorns - they take a longer time to germinate.

As they start leafing out, separate the white oaks from the red oaks by checking the leaf patterns. Throw away any seedling that has holes in the leaves or rather an insect has invaded. Also, remove the caps of your acorn. By now, they should come off with ease.

Soak the acorns in a water container overnight, and they should be ready for planting. Red oaks may need stratification just before planting in a permanent location. This process can take several weeks.

This is a fun activity to do with your kids.

Caring For Oak Tree

To keep your oak tree healthy, you'll need to do regular watering, specialized fertilizing, and pruning. Doing so will help keep the oak tree away from diseases and better equipped to tolerate stress.

Oak trees love well-drained soils and a good amount of sunlight. They do well with natural season changes and will survive harsh summers and wet winters. As long as you have rainy winters, you really don't need to water oak trees.

If you experience a dry winter, remember to soak up the tree during spring. You can also soak the tree in dry summers now and then. Proper soaking means that you give the three bits of water throughout the day instead of pouring out gallons at once.


While planting oaks, remember there are oak-specific fertilizers that promote growth and increase stress tolerance as well. Mature oaks also need fertilizers to maintain health. Use fertilizers in oaks somewhere between spring, late summer, or autumn. Nitrogen-based fertilizers are your best bet, and you can also balance with phosphorus and potassium. You can also naturally fertilize your oaks by letting the trees that fall off remain on the ground.


It is safe to prune your oaks during its dormancy period in the winter. The wounds will not get infected, and as the tree blooms after winter, it will quickly heal and grow healthier. You can do light trims in the spring and autumn- just don't get too carried away to hurt the oak tree.

Pruning will help control the size of the tree and eliminate diseased branches. Although it is a great method, pruning slows growth while promoting bud development- so ironic. When pruning, always remember to leave out the branch collar to allow growth and proper callus formation.

Landscape Considerations

As you grow your oak tree, remember to only choose drought-resistant plants for landscaping, preferably a native plant, that doesn't need much watering in the summer. Space them at least 6 feet from the oak tree's trunk to give it space to grow laterally.

It is also advisable to loosely cover the base of the oak tree with around 3 inches of mulch to keep the water in the soil from drying out. Mulching the oak trees also prevents nutrient-stealing weeds from sprouting.

Oak Tree Diseases

Oak trees are quite vulnerable to pests and diseases that cause the leaves to brown. Here's a simplified list of diseases that you should look out for if you notice your oak leaves turning brown:

Anthracnose is a generally mild leaf disease that causes small brown spots on leaves, making the curl up.

Though drought stress is not a disease, but can also cause your leaves to turn yellow or brown.

Oak wilt is the most notorious disease you would be wary of. It is a deadly fungus that eats the Oak's vascular muscles, blocking the flow of water inside the trees. This effectively causes browning of leaves, tree decline, and premature leaf drop.

Bur oak blight is a disease-specific to bur oak trees and makes their leaves fall off or brown late in the summer

Some borer insects such as the chestnut borer make the leaves wilt, turn brown, and consequently fall off.

Proper oak tree care can keep your trees healthier. You should actively do it as mature trees increase your property's value.

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