Easily grown in average, medium to wet, acidic soils in full sun. Prefers moist loams. Tolerates poorly drained soils. Tolerates some flooding. May take up to 15-20 years for this tree to bear a first crop of acorns.
Quercus palustris commonly called pin oak is a medium sized deciduous oak of the red oak group that typically grows 50-70’ (less frequently to 100’) tall with a broad pyramidal crown. Upper branches are ascending, middle branches are somewhat horizontal and lower branches are descending. In the wild, the lower branches of this tree are often shaded by other trees, eventually dying and breaking off leaving persistent pin-like stubs, hence the common name. Trunk diameter to 3’. Smooth gray-brown bark usually develops ridging with age. This is a tree of lowlands and bottomlands that is primarily native to the Midwest and mid-Atlantic States. In Missouri, it typically occurs in valleys, floodplains and stream margins, but is infrequently found in drier upland areas (Steyermark). Insignificant monoecious yellowish-green flowers in separate male and female catkins appear in spring as the leaves emerge. Fruits are rounded acorns (to 1/2” long), with shallow, saucer-shaped acorn cups that barely cover the acorn base. Acorns are an important source of food for wildlife. Glossy, dark green leaves (to 5” long) typically have 5 bristle-tipped lobes with deeply cut sinuses extending close to the midrib. Leaves turn deep red in fall. Pin oak is pehaps the most popular commercial oak of eastern North America, having been widely planted as both a street and a landscape tree.
Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for oak trees.
Specific epithet comes from the Latin word for marsh (palus), in reference to a common habitat for this tree.
Chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) is common in alkaline soils and can severely damage this tree. Pin oak is otherwise infrequently attacked by the common diseases of oaks which include oak wilt, chestnut blight, shoestring root rot, anthracnose, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, galls, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils.
Quercus palustris, as noted above, is not suitable for alkaline soils in Missouri. For more information and recommendations on alternate oaks to plant, please see Plant an Oak! (But not a Pin Oak).
A medium shade tree for lawns, streets or parks.