Do you want to plant an Oak Tree in your garden? Well, you will be pleased to know that you can choose one for your yard from more than 600 established Oak Tree varieties! Oak Trees are part of the Quercus genus. These trees have incredibly durable wood and evergreen or deciduous foliage. Read on to learn about the striking Oak Tree species you can grow in Iowa!
Oak Trees are distributed all over the North Temperate Zone and at high altitudes in the tropics. These trees are typically characterized by their deciduous or evergreen, simple, alternate leaves with toothed, lobed, or entire edges. They have male flowers growing in pendulous, yellow catkins and female flowers occurring in multiple, dual, or single flowering spikes.
These trees also bear small pomes or acorns. White and Red Oaks have acorns with spirally, scaly cups. Meanwhile, some other Oak species have cups with concentric ring-shaped scales. White Oaks have sweet-tasting acorns while Red Oaks have typically bitter fruits that develop slowly over two growing seasons.
In Iowa, several Oak Trees offer exceptional ornamental landscape value, including Pin Oak, Bur Oak, Swamp White Oak, Red Oak, and Post Oak. The acorns these trees produce act as excellent food for birds, squirrels, cows, deer, and small rodents. However, most Oak species produce fruits after 20 to 30 years of planting.
Provided you take care of their sun and soil requirements, these trees will continue to produce fruits for the remainder of their lives, which can be up to 200 years. Oak species are also grown commercially for their durable wood, which is often used to make furniture, drums, flooring, ships, baskets, wine barrels, and so much more. When planting these trees, make sure to do so in full sun and free-draining, medium moist soils.
Here are the most common types of Oak Trees in Iowa:
1. Pin Oak (Quercus Palustris)
Pin Oak is a deciduous tree with a broad, pyramidal crown and descending lower branches, ascending upper branches, and horizontal middle branches. This 50 to 70 feet tall tree is decked with glossy, lobed, dark green leaves that turn deep red in autumn. It produces non-showy, greenish blossoms that give way to round to ovate acorns with saucer-shaped cups. This tree thrives in sunny areas in moist, acidic, free-draining loams.
2. Swamp White Oak (Quercus Bicolor)
Swamp White Oak is a deciduous tree with a rounded, broad-spreading crown and a short trunk. This 50 to 60 feet tall tree features shiny, dark green leaves with blunt edges and silvery-white undersides. The foliage develops yellow and reddish-purple hues in fall. This tree produces insignificant flowers and distinctive acorns. It is a drought-resistant tree that grows well in sunny areas in well-drained, acidic, and wet soils.
3. Black Oak (Quercus Velutina)
Black Oak has a globular, spreading form and a blackish bark. This deciduous tree is decked with shiny, bristle-edged, leathery, lobed, dark green foliage that develops a yellowish-brown to yellow or dull red hue in autumn. This 50 to 60 feet tall tree produces non-showy greenish spring blooms that give way to elliptic acorns. Black Oak grows well in sun-kissed areas in moist, free-draining, organically rich soils.
4. Red Oak (Quercus Rubra)
Red Oak is a deciduous tree with an irregular, wide-spreading crown. This 50 to 75 feet tall tree features lustrous, dark green, lobed, sharp-edged foliage that develops a reddish-brown hue in fall. It yields spring blooms that give way to round acorns with flat, saucer-shaped cups. This durable tree grows well in sunlit areas and free-draining, fertile, medium moist, acidic soils.
5. Chinkapin Oak (Quercus Muehlenbergii)
Chinkapin Oak is a deciduous tree with an open, globular crown. This 40 to 60 feet tall tree produces greenish-yellow, non-showy flowers that are followed by oval-shaped acorns with scaly cups. This tree is decorated with narrow, oblong-lanceolate, shiny, coarse-edged, green foliage that turns yellow and brown in fall. Chinkapin Oak grows well in sunlit spaces in well-drained, fertile, moist loams.
6. Blackjack Oak (Quercus Marilandcia)
Blackjack Oak is a deciduous tree with a scruffy, irregular crown. This 20 to 40 feet tall tree has leathery, blackjack-type, obovate, dark green foliage with hairy, rusty bottoms and bristle-tipped lobes. Blackjack Oak yields insignificant spring blooms that give way to oblong acorns with small, flat cups. This tree has yellowish-brown fall leaves. It grows well in sunlit areas in dry to medium, free-draining, acidic soils.
7. Post Oak (Quercus Stellata)
Post Oak features deciduous, rough, lobed, leathery, dark green leaves that develop unimpressive yellow and brown hues in autumn. This 35 to 50 feet tall tree has impressively durable wood used to make posts and a rounded crown. Post Oak produces non-showy, greenish-yellow spring flowers that give way to oval acorns with small, bowl-shaped cups. This tree grows well in sunlit areas and free-draining, rich, moist, acidic soils.
8. Bur Oak Leaf (Quercus Macrocarpa)
Also known as Mossy-Cup Oak Tree, Bur Oak Leaf Tree is a stately, 60 to 80 feet tall tree. This deciduous specimen has a rounded, wide-spreading crown decorated with lobed, leathery, dark green foliage that develops a yellowish-brown hue in autumn. Bur Oak produces insignificant, yellowish-green flowers that give way to oval or rounded acorns with scaly, fringed, mossy cups. This tree grows well in sunlit spaces in well-drained, moist loams.