Within Wisconsin’s forests, more than 43% include ash and maple trees, but the state is home to many other trees as well. There, you can find everything from beech to oak and fir to buckeye, and many trees found in the state live nowhere else in the country.
In addition to hickory, walnut, and spruce trees, Wisconsin is home to eight different types of oak trees, which are majestic-looking trees because of their height and often massive trunks. Oak trees definitely make a statement, and they are prized for their hard, dense wood which is used to make furniture and flooring, as well as many other items.
Oak trees also stay around for a while, living up to 300 years, and their leaves are often quite large and eye-catching. Both coniferous and deciduous trees grow in Wisconsin, with the former being softwood trees that usually keep their needles all year long and the latter being hardwoods that usually offer beautifully colored leaves in the fall.
Below are additional details on the many types of oak trees found in the state of Wisconsin.
1. Black Oak (quercus velutina)
Black oak trees are actually part of the red oak family and are considered small because they rarely get more than 80 feet in height. Their trunks are average size at around 35 inches in diameter, and they have hybridized with roughly a dozen other trees. The shiny-green leaves can get up to eight inches long, making them quite impressive, and they are a lighter brownish-yellow color underneath. The tree also does very well in both cool and warm climates, making it easy to grow, and it has acorns that are a bit bigger than acorns from many other oak trees.
2. Bur Oak (quercus macrocarpa)
The bur oak is so attractive that it is often planted in public parks, public streets, and many other areas that people like to visit. It is also called the mossycup oak and gets up to nearly 100 feet high, although a few bur oaks are as tall as 160 feet. The leaves of the tree get up to six inches long and roughly three inches in width, and in the spring you can find lovely greenish-yellow flowers blooming on it. One of its most significant features is the size of its acorns, which are larger than the acorns of any other oak tree. Because of this, animals such as cattle, deer, porcupines, and the American black bear love to eat them.
3. Chinkapin Oak (quercus muehlenbergii)
The chinkapin oak tree is easy to grow because it can grow in nearly any type of terrain and soil conditions. The acorns take only one year to mature and fully ripen by September or October. The acorns are also sweet in taste, making them very popular with both animals and humans alike. The tree has flaky, gray bark and hard wood that is used to make numerous products, as well as being used in a lot of different construction projects.
4. Hybrid Swamp White Oak (quercus x schuettei)
The hybrid swamp white oak tree grows from 50 to 70 feet in height and has a spread of 50 to 60 feet. It blooms in April or May and does best in growing zones 4 through 8. It doesn’t do well in shade but prefers medium to wet soils and full sun. It is a hybrid between the bur oak (quercus macrocarpa) and the swamp white oak (quercus bicolor). The acorns of the tree get to roughly 1.5 inches in length, and there are so many of them that the wildlife in the area never has to worry about what to eat.
5. Northern Pin Oak (quercus ellipsoidalis)
Also called the Hill’s oak tree, this deciduous tree is medium-sized and gets up to about 65 feet high. The rounded, open crown and beautiful glossy green leaves make it a true eye-catcher, and the leaves can get up to five inches long and four inches wide. In the fall, the tree’s leaves turn a gorgeous shade of red for everyone to enjoy, and this is also one of the reasons it is frequently used as an ornamental or decorative tree. Common uses for the wood of the northern pin oak include various construction projects, fence posts, and even fuel.
6. Red Oak (quercus rubra)
The red oak tree is native to North America and is sometimes called the champion oak. It grows to around 90 feet in height and has a trunk that often gets up to three feet in diameter. With a reddish-gray or dark-brown bark, the leaves are massive and get up to nine inches long and six inches wide. The acorns are small like most oak trees’ nuts, and they grow either singly or in pairs, maturing in roughly 18 months. Once they’re mature, they are a lovely chestnut-brown color.
7. Swamp White Oak (quercus bicolor)
Considered a medium-sized tree, the swamp white oak grows 60 to 80 feet high, although the tallest one was recorded at a booming 95 feet. It also lived for a total of 285 years, making it a very old oak tree as well. The leaves of this tree get up to seven inches long and up to four inches wide, and their colors in the fall include yellowish-brown, brown, and red. Acorns mature quickly, usually in six months, and are roughly one inch in length. Although the wood of the tree is often used in construction projects, its ease of transplanting from one area to another makes it the perfect type of wood for landscaping jobs as well.
8. White Oak (quercus alba)
With light-gray (not white!) bark, the white oak tree lives for up to 300 years and is very attractive, which is one of the reasons they are frequently used as ornamental and decorative trees for both individuals and public places. It gets up to 100 feet tall and up to 100 feet wide, so it is an impressive tree as well. In 2016 in New Jersey, a white oak was found to be 600 years old, but 300 years is instead the average. The wood is used to make musical instruments, whiskey barrels, and much more.