How to Identify Oak Trees in Texas by Their Leaves: A Handy Guide

Date February 08, 2022

Author TreeNewal Staff

Texas is known for its plentiful oak trees. Did you know there are more than 50 different native varieties?! They’re deeply important to our Southern ecology as vital suppliers of acorns for nutrition to wildlife and shelter amongst their great branches. But how to tell which ones you have out in your yard?

One of the surest ways to find out is by looking at an oak tree’s leaves. With three primary leaf types of needles, scales, and broadleafs (wide and flat), they can tell you so much more than just how much raking you’ll have to do when it starts to get cold. Here’s a handy guide to help you identify your oak trees by their leaves!

Common Oak Varieties That Grow Best in Texas

  • Red Oak
  • These beauties can reach as high as 90 feet tall with tell-tale flat-topped acorns.
  • Their leaves are toothed and light green
  • There are 6 or 7 lobes on each leaf, indented at about the center of the leaf
  • Usually have two small points on each side with a pointed tip, though it’s by no means sharp


Bonus Tip: Red oaks overall typically have pointed lobes, while you’ll find mostly rounded lobes on white oaks.

Mexican Oak

  • The bark of a Mexican oak tree tends to be dark to light grey
  • These are semi-evergreen leaves
  • They are smooth and between 2 and 5 inches long
  • Shape and color may vary through the seasons
  • Spring brings new foliage of bronze or pinkish hue before changing to a blue-ish green
  • Summer sees a downy texture develop
  • Typically, its edges are serrated


Live Oak

  • These oak tree leaves may stick around on the limbs all throughout the winter, finally giving way to the new buds sprouting come springtime
  • The top half of its leaf has a shiny finish of a dark green shade
  • The bottom half is less brilliant with a grey-green hue
  • Tend to have a leather-like texture


Lacey Oak

  • A Lacey oak at best is of medium-size and at worst the size of a shrub
  • Its leaves are thick and oblong
  • Has a wide range of colors
  • Peachy in Spring and Autumn
  • Dark blue or grey-green in Summer
  • Tends to have only a few shallow lobes


Chinquapin Oak

  • Also known as a Chinkapin Oak, these trees are highly adaptable to a variety of soil conditions
  • You’ll find oblong-shaped leaves that are about 4 to 6 inches long
  • They have a coarsely toothed edge
  • Primarily it is a dark yellowed green but can turn a multitude of shades in Autumn from yellow and orange to bronze and brown


Bur Oak

  • Their acorns have very large cups that practically envelop the whole acorn
  • Bur oak leaves are impressively large at as much as an entire foot-long
  • They are generally also wide with blunt lobes


Post Oak

  • Post oak leaves are quite unique with their cross-like shape covered in star-shaped ‘hairs’
  • The dark green color is the top of the leaf, while the underside is a lighter yellow
  • Their size is 4 to 7 inches long with a width of 3 to 4 inches
  • Often, they have 5 lobes

Water Oak

  • While they tend to have a classic oak leaf shape, their sizes can vary greatly
  • In Summer, they have a subdued blue-green to even a darker green shade
  • In Autumn, you’ll find a brilliant yellow hue to them
  • Their tips have 3 lobes


Texas Red Oak

  • Of course, there’s a tree specifically called a Texas Oak, and it’s a hardy one with a scientific name of Querecus buckleyi
  • This mighty tree is on the smaller to medium side
  • Leaves are a beautiful mid-tone green that turns to a bold color in the red family for Autumn
  • Its hues can vary between each Autumn and Winter

If you need help determining which types of oak trees you’ve got under your care, get in touch with the ISA-certified arborists at TreeNewal and enjoy tailored tree care advice.


To learn more about How to Identify Oak Trees in Texas by Their Leaves: A Handy Guide, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

at tel:(817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

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