3 Types of Oak Trees in Pennsylvania

Just like most states, Pennsylvania is filled with trees of all types, including pines, cedars, hemlocks, oaks, beeches, willows, and many others. With many different terrains, including hills and mountains, this beautiful state is home to so many types of trees that you won’t be able to experience all of them in just one trip.

The state of Pennsylvania has many oak trees dotting the landscape in most areas, and these stately trees are not only spectacular to look at, but very sturdy as well. In fact, the wood of the oak tree is some of the hardest wood available, which is why it is used so frequently in various construction projects and in building products such as furniture, flooring, and many others. Oak trees typically live 200 to 300 years, but a few have lived as long as 600 years, which is quite impressive.

In addition, oak trees are known for their nuts, which are called acorns and can come in a variety of sizes. Acorns are consumed by both wildlife and humans, including Native Americans at one point. Some are even sweet in flavor. If you’d like to learn more about the types of oak trees in the state of Pennsylvania, below is some information you can enjoy.

1. Black Oak (quercus velutina)

Quercus Velutina
Bruce Kirchoff Quercus Velutina

The black oak tree is also called the eastern black oak and it can grow anywhere from 65 to 80 feet in height. The trunk usually gets to roughly 35 inches in diameter, and the leaves are a beautiful shiny green on top and a yellowish-brown color underneath. The leaves are also four to eight inches in length and can be quite elegant-looking. The acorns of the black oak tree are usually a little larger than other oak trees and have caps that often cover half or nearly all of the nut itself. In addition to all of this, the black oak has hybridized with roughly a dozen or so other tree types.

2. Northern Red Oak (quercus rubra)

Quercus Rubra
Rebecca Dellinger-Johnston Quercus Rubra

The northern red oak tree is native to North America and is sometimes called the champion oak tree. It can grow to roughly 90 feet tall and its trunk gets to around three feet in diameter. One of its most unique features is the size of its leaves, which can get up to nine inches long and up to six inches wide. The bark is dark in color, usually either brown or a reddish-gray, and the acorns mature in roughly 18 months. They can grow either singly or in pairs, and they are small in size. 

3. White Oak (quercus alba)

Quercus Alba
Plant Image Library Quercus Alba

Even though the tree is called the white oak, the bark is actually a light-gray color. It grows up to 100 feet high and is often 100 feet wide, too. In 2016, a white oak tree in New Jersey was found that was 600 years old, but this is not the norm because most white oaks live to be about 300 years old. Because they are so attractive, white oaks make great decorative or ornamental trees, and some of the uses for the wood include musical instruments and whiskey barrels, among other products.