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Chinkapin OakQuercus muehlenbergii

  • Chinkapin Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii
  • Chinkapin Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii
  • Chinkapin Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii
  • Chinkapin Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii
  • Chinkapin Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii
A worthy specimen for larger lawns, estates, or parks. A medium to large size oak with 4"-6 1/2" glistening dark green leaves in summer turning yellow-orange to orangish-brown in fall. Produces 1" sweet acorns that mature in a single season. The acorns are at the top of the food preference list for many wildlife species. The bark is an ashy light gray that breaks into narrow, thin flakes. As this species matures, it becomes a magnificent specimen and a conversation piece. Grows 40'-50' high with a similar spread under landscaping conditions, becoming 70'-80' high in the wild. Does best in well-drained soil and adapts to many different soil types. Grow in full sun.

Hardiness Zones

The chinkapin oak can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–7. View Map

Tree Type

Mature Size

The chinkapin oak grows to a height of 40–50' and a spread of 50–60' at maturity.

Growth Speed Slow to Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12" to 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 chinkapin oak grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. It tolerates wet conditions and some drought but does best in well-drained areas that do not experience severe drought.


This tree:
  • Features simple, oblong to oblong-lanceolate leaves that are dark yellowish green, coarsely toothed and 4–6½" in length. Fall color varies from yellow to orangish-brown to brown.
  • Adapts to many soil conditions.
  • Yields 1" round acorns that mature in the first year.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.

Wildlife Value

Chinkapin oak acorns are the preferred food for wild turkeys, grouse, white-tailed deer, black bears, chipmunks, squirrels and hogs. Cattle will eat the leaves.


The chinkapin oak is also commonly referred to as a yellow chestnut oak, rock oak or yellow oak. Early pioneers used its straight wood to make thousands of miles of fences in the states of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Later on, the trees were used to fuel the steamships that ran from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. They were also used as railroad ties for the new railroads that crisscrossed the Midwest.