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20 Types of Oak Trees in Georgia to Discover or Plant Today

The State of Georgia has a relatively mild climate, making it home to a wide range of trees you can plant or admire in the wild.

According to the University of Georgia, the state is home to 30 unique species of oak trees. Oaks retain their leaves for much of the year, so these alongside the acorns are the easiest way to differentiate between members of the family.

With 25 million acres of forest for Georgians to enjoy, there’s plenty of opportunity to for admiring these majestic trees in the wild.

Or you may also consider planting one in your backyard should space and time allow.

20 Beautiful Types of Oak Trees You Can Grow in Georgia

1. Laurel Oak (Quercus laurifolia)

Laurel Oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Laurel Oak is a large stately semi-evergreen tree with a dense oval to rounded canopy. The bark is grey and deeply furrowed, whilst the trunk can flare at the base with age.

The leaves are leathery and oval-shaped 2-4” long, green and glossy on the top, and smooth and paler underneath. The persists throughout the fall and much of the winter in warmer coastal areas.

Yellow-green catkins appear in the spring, and the oval acorns take two years to mature. When ripe, they provide a valuable food source for many birds and smaller mammals.

The Laurel Oak occurs naturally on flood plains, river banks, swamps, wetlands, as well as in upland depressions. It’s not fussy about soil type and will even grow in clay.

Other Common Names: Swamp Oak, Darlington Oak, Laurel-leaf Oak, Water Oak

Growing Zones: 7-10

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 ft tall and 40-60 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

2. Black Oak (Quercus velutina)

Black Oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Black Oak is a medium to large-sized deciduous tree with an irregular/rounded crown. The leaves are large, measuring 10” long, with 7-9 deeply incised lobes, and are glossy dark green above, and paler below and turn gorgeous shades of orange, reds, and yellows in the fall.

Small yellow/green catkins emerge in the spring before or with the leaves. The acorns or solitary or paired, elliptic and contain a fringed cup that covers half the acorn. Squirrels, deer, mice, and turkey, amongst other animals, enjoy them as a food source.

The Black Oak is an adaptable tree when it comes to soil types and will grow in poor, dry sandy soils, as well as in heavy clay. It can be planted as a shade tree or specimen tree in larger landscapes.

Other Common Names: Yellow Oak, Yellowbark Oak, Smoothbark Oak

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-60 ft tall and 50-60 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring, either before or with the leaves

3. Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)

Scarlet oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Scarlet Oak is a large deciduous tree with a pyramidal shape in youth that becomes open and spreading with age. The foliage is large and dark green, adorned with 7-9 lobes, and turns to shades of scarlet and red in the fall.

This spectacular autumnal show sometimes lasts 3-4 weeks, making the Scarlet Oak popular with lovers of fall colors. Yellow/green catkins appear in the spring as the new leaves appear with a red color.

The acorns are enclosed in a cup-like cap. The Scarlet Oak will tolerate poor soil and wind, making it a popular landscape choice for large areas. It’s easy to grow in dry to medium moisture level, acidic well-drained soil. It’ll adapt to many soil types but prefers dry sandy areas.

Other Common Names: Scarlet Oak

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 ft tall and 40-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

4. Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica)

Blackjack oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Blackjack Oak is a small to medium sized deciduous oak with a compact size. In sites with poor soil, it often takes on an irregular and ‘untidy’ form.

In the wild, it’s typically found in open and barren areas and fields, woodland peripheries, and dry ridges. The leaves are leathery, obovate, and dark green, 7” long, wider at the apex, with 3-5 bristle-tipped lobes. In the fall, the leaves turn a yellow/brown/russet color.

The flowers are monoecious, appearing on separate male and female catkins. The acorns are oblong, measure 1” long, and are a source of food for local wildlife. Mature trees have a rough, black bark that forms large plates.

Blackjack oaks are best admired in the wild as they’re considered to have little ornamental value. Alternatively, you could consider planting in a woodland-style garden.

Other Common Names: Blackjack Oak

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-40 ft tall and 15-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

5. Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)

Live oak
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The Live Oak is a large, long-lived evergreen tree with a low branching habit and a broad spreading low crown. It can be found growing in coastal plains and woodlands from Virginia to Southern Florida and Texas.

In many parts of its range, the low-hanging limbs can be seen covered in Spanish moss. Live Oaks were planted alongside many southern plantations, and as such have become emblematic of the South.

The flowers appear in the spring and are monoecious, yellow/green on separate male and female catkins. The acorns are ellipsoidal, and measure 1” long with scaly cups that take up about ⅓ of the acorn and are enjoyed by many forms of wildlife.

The leaves of the Live Oak are shiny, leathery, and obovate to elliptical, measuring up to 5” long with smooth edges.

Other Common Names: Virginia Live Oak, Bay Live Oak, Scrub Live Oak, Plateau Oak, Plateau Live Oak, Southern Live Oak

Growing Zones: 8-10

Average Size at Maturity: 40-80 ft tall and 60-100 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

6. Georgia Oak (Quercus georgiana)

Georgia oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Georgia Oak is a small deciduous, rare red oak. In the wild, it often grows in a shrubby form and reaches up to 50 ft tall.

In Georgia, it can be found in dry rocky areas, in granite and sandstone outcrops of slopes and hills at 160-1,640 ft altitude in zone 7a-8a. The leaves are small, with 3-6 lobes, and turn bright red in the fall.

The Georgia Oak will tolerate a wide range of soil types, provided they are well-draining. It functions well as a shade tree for smaller yards and can be planted successfully in urban areas

Other Common Names: Stone Mountain Oak

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and 15-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

7. Cherry Bark Oak (Quercus pagoda)

Cherry bark oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Cherry Bark Oak is a fast-growing, native, deciduous oak with a straight trunk in the wild. The branching is regular which forms a round crown of glossy dark green leaves. Fall sees the foliage turn brown/yellow before being shed.

The acorns appear on trees when they reach 25 years of age, and take two years to mature. The common name comes from the shape of the leaves which are said to resemble a pagoda.

The Cherry Bark Oak can be found in bottomlands in the wild, and grows best in moist, well-drained soil but can adapt to drier sites in full sun or partial shade. It’s useful as a fast growing shade tree in larger landscapes and yards.

Other Common Names: Cherrybark Oak

Growing Zones: 8-9

Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 ft tall and 30-35 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

8. White Oak (Quercus alba)

White oak
Image by James St. John via Flickr

The White Oak is a long-lived and stately oak tree with an oval to upright form. Some specimens are believed to be more than 600 years old. In the wild, they can be found in moist, well-drained woodlands.

They can also be seen around cities since their deep roots don’t interfere with building foundations, and their branching can stand up to wind and ice.

The White Oak features spreading branches, with individual branches capable of spreading 50 ft away from the trunk. It’s typically a straight trunked tree with an ashy gray color.

Halfway up the trunk, the bark becomes plated. The leaves are alternate and glossy, with a faint blue tint, and measure between 5 and 8.5” in length. In spring the leaves emerge silvery pink and are covered in a soft down.

Other Common Names: White Oak

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 ft tall and 50-80 ft wide

Flowering Season: March-May

9. Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Pin oak
Image by Daniel Arrhakis via Flickr

The Pin Oak is pyramidal in youth, becoming more oval with age. It’s a fast-growing tree that thrives in full sun with moist soil.

Its distinctive branching pattern sets it apart from other oaks. The foliage consists of dark, glossy leaves, 3-6” long with 5 lobes (rarely 7-9) separated by deep sinuses.

Yellow/green catkins appear in April – May and are followed by ½” long acorns with a thin, saucer-like cap covered in tight scales.

The White Oak works well for urban planting, as it’ll tolerate poor, compacted soil as well as air pollution and heat, and offers dense shade. The acorns are eaten by ducks, turkeys, songbirds, white-tailed deer, squirrels, and small rodents.

Other Common Names: Swamp Spanish Oak

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 60-70 ft tall and 25-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

10. Willow Oak (Quercus phellos)

Willow oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Willow Oak grows pyramidal when young, becoming oval-to oblong/rounded with age. The leaves are spear-shaped and measure 2-5” long and have a bristle on the tip.

The acorns are ½” long with a thin cap. The Willow Oak provides a beautiful color show, with the leaves starting bright green, turning darker in the summer, before turning shades of bronze/orange/yellow, red/russet in the fall before being shed.

The Willow Oak tolerates poorly drained soil and is known to transplant easier than other species of oak. In the wild, it’s typically found in transition zones between swamps and upland mesic forests.

The Willow Oak is monoecious, with male and female flowers on separate catkins on the same tree.

Other Common Names: Peach Oak, Pin Oak, Swamp Willow Oak

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

11. Chestnut Oak (Quercus michauxii)

CHESTNUT OAK
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Chestnut Oak is native to silty floodplains and swamps as well as rich sandy low-lying woodlands along streams near coastal plains. It features a tight narrow, rounded crown.

The leaves are large and obovate, with rounded teeth and wavy margins. They are shiny green above and grayish below, and slightly hairy. Fall sees the leaves turn dark red.

The male catkins are yellow, 2-4” long and the females are few-flowered reddish spikes. The flowers are followed by 1” long acorns that ripen in September/October.

They are covered by a cup with hairy, light gray scales. They have a sweet taste and can be eaten straight from the tree.

They are consumed by several animals such as turkey, deer, squirrels, woodpeckers, and other birds. Acorns aren’t typically produced until the tree reaches 20-25 years of age.

Other Common Names: Cow Oak, Swamp Chestnut Oak

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 ft tall and 30-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

12. Turkey Oak (Quercus laevis)

Turkey oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Turkey Oak is a deciduous broadleaf oak. The bark is dark grey and matures to various plates and fissures. On older trees, the fissures near the base can be seen streaked with orange.

The leaf lobes are deeply cut and have short points at the tips. They are dark green and variable in shape; some with rounded simple lobes and others with elaborate pointed lobes. All variations are thick and shiny above, and downy on the underside.

The flowers appear on pendulous catkins between April and May and are wind pollinated. The acorns mature 18 months after pollination, and are orange at the base, becoming green brown at the tip with a hairy acorn cup.

The Turkey Oak grows in poor, thin sandy soil where few other oaks can survive.

Other Common Names: Turkey Foot Oak, Scrub Oak

Growing Zones: 7-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-50 ft tall and 20-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

13. Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)

Shumard oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Shumard Oak is a medium-sized deciduous oak that’s pyramidal in youth, becoming broad and open with age. The leaves are shiny and dark green, 6-8” long with deep spiny lobes, (usually 7-9).

The foliage turns reddish brown late in the season. Flowers appear on separate male and female catkins in early spring as the leaves emerge.

The acorns usually don’t appear until the tree reaches 25 years of age. The Shumard Oak can be found in moist bottomlands and lowlands, along streams, lakes, swamps, floodplains, and valleys. It can also be found on drier elevated sites

Other Common Names: Spotted Oak, Schneck Oak, Shumard Red Oak, Southern Red Oak, Swamp Red Oak

Growing Zones: 5-10

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: Early spring as the leaves emerge

14. Overcup Oak (Quercue lyrata)

overcup oak
Image by Melissa McMasters via Flickr

The Overcup Oak can be distinguished by the cup that covers almost all of the acorn. The crown is rounded and the foliage is deciduous. The leaves are narrowly oblong, dark green, and leathery and turn tannin-brown early in the season.

The branches are often drooping and the leaves have narrow deep lobes. The Latin name means ‘lyre-shaped,’ and refers to the leaves.

The Overcup Oak is a slow-growing tree with a gray bark with deep furrows or scaly ridges. The Overcup Oak can only be found in poorly drained lowland areas in the southern Coastal Plain. It prefers partial shade.

Other Common Names: Swamp Post Oak, Water White Oak, Swamp White Oak

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 ft tall and 20-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: March-May

15. Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

Chinkapin oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Chinkapin Oak is a member of the white oak group and can be identified by its chestnut-like leaves. It’s a medium-sized tree with a low branching structure that creates a beautiful winter silhouette.

The crown is irregularly shaped and narrow. The leaves are alternate and simple, 4-8” long and 1 3 ½” wide, broadest near the base, and end in a pointed tooth.

They are distinctly serrated on the margin, with 8-13 teeth per side. The underside of the leaves is paler than the top and have conspicuous veins with gray hairs.

The flowers are catkins that appear from April – May. The acorns appear either solitary or in pairs and ripen between September and October. The cup covers about half the acorn and is thin, with small brown hairs and small scales.

The Chinkapin Oak is most common on dry, rocky upland woods in limestone or dolomite-based soils. However, it can also be found in moist bottomlands and floodplain forests.

Other Common Names: Chestnut Oak, Yellow Chestnut Oak

Growing Zones: 4-7

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 ft tall and 50-60 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

16. Nuttal Oak (Quercus texana)

Nuttal oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Nuttal Oak is known for its orange/red late fall foliage. It features a wide-spreading rounded crown. The bark is grayish brown to black and furrowed with flat ridges.

The Nuttal Oak typically grows in heavy, bottomland soil in floodplain forests, so if you’re considering planting one in your GA yard, it’s a good choice for low-lying areas with wet soil. Be sure to check the hardiness map of Georgia to be sure it’s suited for your area.

Unshowy greenish/yellow flowers appear on separate male and female catkins in spring shortly after the emergence of the leaves.

The acorns are similar to those of the Pin Oak but are more elongated, more egg-shaped, and ¾” long. The fall colors appear late but are pleasing shades of red.

Other Common Names: Nuttal’s Oak, Texas Red Oak, Spanish Oak

Growing Zones: 5b-9a

Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 ft tall and 50-60 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

17. Post Oak (Quercus stellata)

Post oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Post Oak is a member of the white oak family and is a medium-sized tree with a rounded crown. In the Southeastern US, it’s typically found around coastal plains and lower mountain slopes.

The leaves are dark green, leathery and rough, 4-8” long, with 3-5 lobes. The fall color is inconsistent, with occasional hues of yellow and brown.

Yellowish/green flowers appear on separate male and female catkins as the leaves emerge in spring. The acorns are oval, ¾” long with bowl-shaped cups that are about ⅓ of the length of the acorn.

They provide a valuable food source for many local forms of wildlife. The Post Oak can be used as a street or shade tree but is infrequently cultivated.

Other Common Names: Iron Oak

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 ft tall and 20-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: March

18. Southern Red Oak (Quercus falcata)

Southern red oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Southern Red Oak is a medium-sized straight trunked tree that develops far-reaching branches with age, giving it a an even appearance. The bark is smooth and gray and becomes furrowed and dark as it matures, eventually turning black.

The deciduous leaves are thin, lobed, papery, and turn brownish/red before being shed. The leaves are elliptical to ovate, with 1-3 bristle-tipped teeth, a glossy green upper surface, and a gray or tawny underside.

The lobes of the leaves taper to a point on Quercus falcata var. Pagodifolia reminding some of the graduating roofs of a pagoda. The leaves have 5-11 lobes with hairs beneath.

The bark is smooth and cherry-like with short ridges. The Southern Red Oak will grow in dry upland areas in sandy or clay loam throughout the southeastern states.

Other Common Names: Spanish Oak, Bottomland Red Oak, Three-lobed Red Oak

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 70-80 ft tall and 50-60 ft tall

Flowering Season: April – May

19. Coastal Laurel Oak (Quercus hemisphaerica)

Coastal Laurel Oak (Quercus hemisphaerica)
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Coastal Laurel Oak is a medium to large-sized evergreen tree or late-shedding deciduous tree, depending on the location. It’s pyramidal in youth, becoming rounded with age. The leaves are up to 4” in length, shiny, leathery, and have smooth margins.

They are bright green on the underside and darker above and are shed in the spring just before the emergence of the new year’s growth. The gray bark is smooth when young, becoming dark brown with deeply furrowed flat ridges with age.

The small acorns have a grayish cup, covering a ⅓ of the dark brown nut. They ripen in two years and provide a valuable source of food for many small mammals and birds.

The Coastal Laurel Oak is an adaptable tree that will grow in a variety of habitats including poorly drained and dry soils. It makes a good shade or lawn tree in a landscape large enough to accommodate it.

Other Common Names: Sand Laurel Oak, Upland Laurel Oak, Darlington Oak

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: March

20. Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Northern Red oak
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

The Northern Red Oak is a fast-growing deciduous tree with a broad open spreading crown. The foliage is dark green and lustrous, casting decent shade. They are adorned with 7-11 toothed lobes and turn bright red/russet in the fall.

Yellow/green catkins appear in the spring when the new leaves emerge in a dusty bronze/red color. The upper branches are adorned with long gray pale longitudinal lines.

The acorns of the Northern Red Oak are amongst the first to ripen, making them a valuable food source for birds and mammals.

An individual tree may take 40 years before it produces acorns. It makes a good street or lawn tree and is easily grown in fertile, dry to medium-moisture acidic soils.

Other Common Names: Red Oak, American Red Oak

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 ft tall and 50-70 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

Oaks of Georgia

Georgia is a land replete with the splendor and glory of the eternal oak tree in many of its forms.

There are said to be 30 Oaks native to GA, so no matter whether you find yourself in the cooler upper reaches of the state, or the steamier southern reaches by the coast, there are numerous types of oaks for you to admire in the wild or plant in your yard, should you have the space and patience to do so.

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