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Pin OakQuercus palustris

  • Pin Oak - Quercus palustris
  • Pin Oak - Quercus palustris
  • Pin Oak - Quercus palustris
  • Pin Oak - Quercus palustris
  • Pin Oak - Quercus palustris
The pin oak is the type of tree that stands out from its neighbors. Its distinctive branching pattern sets it apart from other oaks. Homeowners and city foresters like this tree for many reasons: dense shade, tolerance of many soil conditions, heat, soil compaction and air pollution, pleasing to the eye in all seasons, and easy to plant. This fast-growing oak is common in yards, along streets, and throughout parks.

  • Provides beautiful shades of russet, bronze, and red in the fall
  • Grows quickly
  • Has a distinctive branching pattern that sets it apart, especially in winter
  • Offers dense shade
  • Will be delivered at a height of 2'–3'

Hardiness Zones

The pin oak can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–8. View Map

Tree Type

Mature Size

The pin oak grows to a height of 60–70' and a spread of 25–40' 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 is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The pin oak grows in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. It can tolerate wet conditions, including moderate flooding.


This tree:
  • Has a distinctive branching pattern that sets it apart, especially in winter.
  • Provides great fall color, with leaves turning shades of scarlet and bronze.
  • Is easier than most to transplant.
  • Features glossy, dark green leaves that are 3–6" long with 5 lobes (although sometimes 7–9) separated by very deep sinuses.
  • Produces yellow-green catkins that are 5¬–7" long and typically appear in April and May.
  • Yields acorns that are nearly round and ½" long with a thin, saucer-like cap made of small, tight scales.
  • Offers dense shade.
  • Tolerates heat, air pollution and compacted soil.
  • Develops a single, central trunk from ground to tip.
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape.
  • Cannot tolerate alkaline soils.

Wildlife Value

Pin oak acorns are eaten by many songbirds, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, squirrels and smaller rodents but are a particularly important food for many ducks.


The name pin oak comes from its short, tough branchlets located along the branches and limbs. Because of its tolerance for wet conditions, the tree is also known regionally as swamp oak, water oak and swamp Spanish oak. The tree was first observed scientifically prior to 1770.