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TREES & plants

English oak

English oak is a long-lived oak with a broadly rounded to spreading habit with a short trunk. It is an excellent specimen tree or can be planted in a grouping in large open landscapes. The acorns form a valuable food source for several small mammals and some birds but trees may take up to 20 years to produce fruit.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name: 
Quercus robur
All Common Names: 
English oak, truffle oak, pedunculate oak
Family (English): 
Beech; Oak
Family (Botanic): 
Fagaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Planting Site: 
  • City parkway
  • Wide median
  • Restricted sites
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
75-100 feet
Mature Width: 
75-100 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Messy fruit/plant parts
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Time of Year: 
  • Mid winter
  • Mid summer
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Round
  • Spreading
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
Wildlife: 
  • Migrant birds
More Information: 

Size & Form

A large, broadly rounded habit with open crown reaching 40 to 60 feet high and wide

Tree & Plant Care

Best planted  in well-drained soil in full sun.
This tree is pH tolerant and has the highest degree of salt tolerance.
Prune oaks in the dormant season to avoid attracting beetles that may carry oak wilt.

Disease, pests, and problems

anthracnose, mildew

Native geographic location and habitat

Europe and southwestern Asia

Attracts birds & wildlife

Valuable food source for small mammals and some birds

Bark color and texture 

Mature trees grayish-black and deeply furrowed

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, simple, 2-5 inch long lobed leaves with articulate (earlobe-like) base
Dark green to blue green above, lighter beneath

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male flowers hang downward in clusters, female flowers are inconspicuous spikes in leaf axils

English oak (Quercus robur)English oak (Quercus robur)photo: John Hagstrom

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Shiny brown when mature
1-inch long acorns are enclosed by a warty cap attached to a 4-inch long stalk.
Acorns may take 20-30 years to develop.

Cultivars and their differences 


Upright English oak (Quercus robur 'Fastigiata'): An upright, columnar tree reaching 50 to 60 feet high and 10 to 15 feet wide.