Types of Oak Trees in Texas
Date June 16, 2020
If you’re a native Texan, or even if you’re a transplant but you’ve been in the Lonestar state for a while, then you know how important the oak tree is to our landscape and culture. These stately, majestic trees can be found all over our state, providing plenty of shade for residents, and acorns and shelter for local wildlife.
Would you believe that there are over 60 different species of oak trees, and we have 50 of them right here in Texas? It’s true!
While we won’t take the time to bullet out all 50 different species that grow here in our state, we have put together this list of our favorite types of oak trees that grow in Texas. We’ve also taken the time to describe the similarities and differences between Texas oak tree leaves, which you’ll find vary by oak tree type.
If you’re interested in planting an oak tree at your home or the property you manage, peruse this list, and contact us with any follow up questions about how to put together a planting design and plan.
Texas Oak Tree Leaves
Not all oak tree leaves are created equally. In Texas, some oak trees have similar leaves, while other Texas oak tree leaves are quite different from one another.
What’s similar amongst all Texas oak tree leaves as that they have what is called “alternate” leaves. This means that only one leaf emerges from each stem. This gives the appearance that the leaves are alternating from one side to the other, hence their name.
However, different oak trees in Texas have leaves with unique characteristics. For example:
- A post oak tree has leaves that are typically dark green, thick, and feel leathery. They’re usually between 4 to 6 inches in length and have 5 lobes.
- Bur oak trees have leaves that are similar to post oak trees, but they grow to be much bigger. A bur oak tree leaf can be as big as a foot long! They also have between 5 to 9 lobes.
- Live oak trees have leaves that are oval in shape and are a glossy green. They only grow to be 2 to 4 inches long.
- Red oak trees have pointed leaves, unlike the rounded tip leaves of many oak trees.
As you can see, there are lots of differences between Texas oak tree leaves!
Our Favorite Oak Trees in Texas
As we mentioned early, there are 50 different types of oak trees that grow in our state. Our favorites are:
- Post oak
These oak trees grow in most parts of Texas. They grow so well here because they need little water and tolerate heat well (and we all know how hot it gets in Texas!). Post oaks grow to be up to 50 feet tall and have a diameter as big as 2 feet.
If you choose to plant a post oak on your property, it’s important that you don’t overwater it. You also need to make sure to keep its root system boundaries (such as the dirt surrounding the roots) intact.
- Live oak
The live oak can grow to be 50 feet tall, but its canopy can spread up to 100 feet around! This makes the live oak an ideal shade tree for Texas. An evergreen oak tree – which is where it gets the name “live” oak – these are long-lived trees that can live for centuries. In fact, the oldest known live oak in Texas is more than 1,200 years old!
A live oak will definitely make a statement on your property. But the shade it gives off will make growing other landscapes difficult since they won’t receive much sunlight. This is why we recommend if you choose a live oak for your property, you accentuate it with shrubs and native plants that grow well in the shade and require little water.
- Bur oak
Sometimes called the prairie oak, the bur oak tree is known for its large leaves and acorns. If you’re choosing this tree for your property, you should know that it’s difficult to transfer larger bur oaks. For this reason, we recommend you plant bur oaks that are 3 to 5 feet in height.
Bur oaks are a fast-growing shade tree, adding 2 to 3 feet to their height every year. While bur oaks don’t produce many acorns, the acorns it does grow can be as big as a golf ball! This makes mowing the yard around a bur oak more difficult. But if you’re in a more rural location, your local wildlife will likely take care of the acorns for you by snatching them off the ground and eating them.
- Shumard red oak
This oak tree, which is sometimes called the swamp red oak or spotted oak, is the tallest of our favorite oak trees in Texas. It can grow to be 120 feet tall!
The Shumard red oak, named after Texan geologist from the 1880s, is drought tolerant and long-lived. A medium to a fast-growing oak tree, the Shumard red oak’s leaves turn a beautiful red and purple in the fall.
Which Texas Oak Tree is Right for You?
While we’ve listed our 4 favorite Texas oak trees, this list is nowhere near conclusive. If you want to plant an oak tree on your property, give us a call at tel:(817) 592-6846 to discuss your desires for your oak tree and share details about your property, and we’ll make a recommendation for you.
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