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California White OakQuercus lobata

  • Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra
  • California Oak Tree
  • California Oak Tree
  • California Oak Tree
This oak is native to California. It is very tolerant of drought and should not be irrigated very often once established. Be sure to keep irrigation away from the trunk as root rot can set in. It does well along streets in the western US. It is one of the tallest of the California oaks. Tolerates only slight alkalinity.

Hardiness Zones

The california white oak can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 7–11. View Map

Tree Type

This tree is considered both a shade tree and an ornamental tree. It features a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight and adds visual interest and beauty to landscaping.

Mature Size

The California white oak grows to a height of 40–70' and a spread of around 60' at maturity.

Growth Speed Fast Growth Rate

This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The California white oak grows well in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It tolerates drought but not wet conditions.


This tree:
  • Is very tolerant of drought and should not be irrigated very often once established.
  • Features oblong to ovate dark green leaves with 7–11 deep lobes. The coloring changes very little in the fall.
  • Develops graceful, drooping branches.
  • Yields edible, oblong acorns that are 1¼–2¼" long and brown in color with a slightly sweet flavor. The nuts ripen between August and October.
  • Relies on wind for pollination.
  • Lives for more than 200 years.
  • Grows in an oval to rounded shape.

Wildlife Value

The California white oak is used by animals more than any tree in its native range for food and nesting sites. The sweet acorns are eaten by deer, squirrels, smaller rodents and acorn woodpeckers, which not only feast upon acorns but also store them in dead trees and utility poles for use in lean years. Rather than store the acorns in cavities, the woodpeckers drill many small holes into a selected tree or pole and insert one acorn into each hole.


The California white oak is native to the valleys of western and central California. It can live for 200 years or more. The wood is used for wine barrels and in the construction of steam boats.