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Oak trees with acorns

There are approximately 90 species of oak tress found in North America, and Alabama is home to at least 40 of those. The diversity of oak tree species in the state is greater than any other state, making them a perfect addition to a landscape.

Types of Oaks

The growth habit and foliage of a swamp chestnut oak tree

The growth habit and foliage of a swamp chestnut oak tree.

Within the genus Quercus, there are basically two types of oak trees, the red oak and the white oak. These two types differ in both leaf shape and in acorn maturity. White oak trees produce mature acorns in one growing season, whereas red oak tree acorns mature in two growing seasons.

Selection

When considering landscape trees, most people prefer fast growing trees that will quickly provide shade and beauty. In spite of the notion that oak trees are slow growing, some grow extremely quickly. Many times, a younger, smaller tree will establish faster and grow better than a larger one.

Among the white oaks that perform well in a landscape are overcup, swamp chestnut, bur, and American white oak trees. Good choices in the red oaks include willow, shumard, nuttall, and scarlet oak trees.

People shouldn’t overlook some of the more obscure oaks that may be outstanding trees. For example, northern red oak trees have a reputation for growing slowly, but selections from a southern seed source tend to refute this and grow surprisingly fast. Another less common tree, yet attractive tree to consider is the bluff oak.

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