White oak trees prefer a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight per day. While happiest in well-drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil, they can adapt to other conditions. This includes occasionally wet soil and moderate drought. Since white oaks develop strong branches, they won’t succumb easily to stormy weather. They’ll also put on a spectacular show for you in the fall with leaves that turn vibrant shades of red and burgundy.
Their leaves measure 4 to 8 inches long and end in a finger-like lobe at the tip. Each leaf has three or four distinct, finger-like lobes on the sides as well. In the spring, the white oak produces clusters of drooping, yellowish-green catkins (male flowers).
The tree develops acorns up to an inch long. When ripe, these fall off, much to the delight of wildlife as white oak acorns make one of the best food sources. Hoofed animals, birds and rodents love gathering, hording and eating these tasty tidbits. Birds also like harvesting the tree’s leaf buds.
With all these attributes, it’s no wonder that this beautiful tree is planted in suburban neighborhoods and urban parks where it provides shade for humans and animals, and important nourishment for the latter. For the same reasons, it makes a welcome addition to your backyard.