Pin oak is an Illinois native and has been widely planted in landscapes for many years. Unfortunately this tree suffers greatly from chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves due to high soil pH. This can be a very serious problem on this species, so pin oak is no longer recommended for landscapes in areas with high soil pH. In areas where chlorosis is not a problem, this tree can provide russet to red fall color.
This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Acid soil,
- Wet soil
- Wet sites,
- Occasional flooding,
- Clay soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Messy fruit/plant parts
- Fall color
Season of Interest:
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Game birds,
- Game mammals,
- Migrant birds,
- Small mammals
Tree & Plant Care
Chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) is a severe problem on this tree when planted in alkaline soils.
Prune oaks in the dormant season to avoid attracting beetles that may carry oak wilt.
Disease, pests, and problems
Oak wilt and oak blister are potential disease problems.
Insect problems mostly limited to galls.
Chlorosis can cause serious damage and decline.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to low-land wet areas
Bark color and texture
Smooth gray, developing shallow, dark fissures with age.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple leaves arranged alternately on the twig; lobed with bristle tips. Medium green in summer, changing to russet or red if chlorosis is not present.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Inconspicuous, male catkins and small female flowers on the same tree.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Small acorn (1/2 inch) with a thin cap.