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Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

Posted by jlaitar 5b/6a (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 14:14

I was considering planting an oak at my lakehouse in Michigan this spring and I wanted to pick all your brains as to which one I should. The growing zone is 5b/6a, and the soil is slightly acidic. I know that white oaks and burr oaks are very nice trees, however I would like a faster growing oak, where it might make it to 30 feet tall in 20 years. I know that both Red Oaks and Pin Oaks are two of the faster growing oaks, with space not being an issue, any thoughts/opinions on which one I should plant? Does either one do better planted in rows or in a group of three or four? Thanks Jeff


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 14:31

Probably red oak will be better for you in Michigan. When doing well it shoots out long branches and produces an open, eventually monumental habit, very wide-spreading with full sun exposure. You would try pin oak instead if you would rather have a more dense, conical tree. It does not work well where overhead clearance is desired, should instead be planted where it can sweep down to the ground, like an effectively placed and maintained conifer.

This post was edited by bboy on Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 14:32


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

A white or bur oak in a good location will grow as fast as any oak.

Fastest oak for you might be Chestnut Oak. Shumard is pretty quick too. It's splitting hairs though, a healthy oak tree with good soil moisture will grow fast. Scarlet Oak is another nice one....


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

i planted 40 bare root 6 to 8 foot oaks .. red.. black. .. shingle.. white ... scarlet ... in adrian MI ... in 2000 ... most are over 25 feet now ...

after a a year or two of getting 'established'.. during which time.. i insured PROPER WATER weekly.. meaning i checked once a week and watered when they needed it ..... they were all growing 3 to 5 feet per year ...

my biggest concern.. is that it is your lakehouse.. and watering might not be perfect ... so it might take them a bit longer to perform to specs .... mulch PROPERLY.. and heavily.. subject to your soil type ....

ken


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

I agree that the white oak, Burr oak, and especially Chestnut oak can grow pretty fast. In my yard Nuttalls oak is really fast and has great structure. Chestnut oak produces seed early, which can be good or bad, it's up to you. Red oak may take a while to get the wide-spreading graceful habit. If you want a fast growing oak with wide spreading structure in youth, my Nuttalls oaks, I have 4 or 5. It's dark out now or I would go count. They are impressive IMHO.


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

A piciture of a young Nuttalls oak in my yard, this one holds on to reddish color in fall and spring a bit longer than most but the shape is the same. Q. Nuttali w/reddesh leaves red Nuttals oak


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

Here are a couple more pics of another Nuttalls oak, by the way, they can adapt to wet soil as long as it isn't year long. In growing season it's best to be a bit drier than the dormant season. Q. Nuttalli


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

I didn't realize that oaks all grow at similar growth rates as long as the growing conditions were good. You read most of the tree guides and they say that the red oak has a rapid growth rate, and a white oak has a slow growth rate; so one would assume that the red oak grows 3 feet plus a year, and a white oak less than a foot.

My lakehouse has soil that's fairly sandy, slightly acidic, and because of the lake, as the water table 24 to 36 inches down, so once the tap roots grows down to the water line, it'll have unlimited water.

If I knew that, I might have planted an oak by the lake, other than the Elm that I did. My Elm has grown 3 or 4 feet a year since I planted it in the spring of 2007 and is starting to become a decent sized tree.

Maybe Ken is on to something about Oaks being far superior trees!

Jeff


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (NW) (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 14, 13 at 14:23

Did you pick Pin and Red (Quercus rubra) just because of growth rate and red fall color? If so I don't recommend either.

I prefer either Quercus ellipsoidalis or Quercus coccinea. There is a new(er) intro of ellipsoidalis that is supposed to have better branching that may be of interest. Since I have a neutral soil I'm limited to ellipsoidalis. Speaking of which I have 1 gallon coccinea that needs a home.

Keep in mind if you have a stand of oaks (from the red oak family) nearby I wouldn't plant anymore than one specimen from that family. At that point you are at a higher risk and then when one goes they'll all go since it spreads through root and/or beetle.

Would be cool to diversify one from the red oak family along with the other suggestions mentioned.


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

Be mindful that some oaks, like Nuttall & Swamp White Oak, tend to lose their leaves in winter, and some, like Shumard, tend to retain a lot of the dead leaves through much of winter. Some people prefer one look or the other.

Since Scarlet Oak was mentioned, isn't that one for somewhat drier areas? What would it do with his high water table (if I understood correctly)?

Richard.


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

well yeah???..

i prefer coccinea also.. but didnt talk about it.. cuz you ruled it out ...

and i would have tagged one last fall .. and picked one with deep burgundy color .... i have about 5 of these... a little slower than the others ... but 3 are sublime color.. and 3 are not ... sublime.. though location could be the issue ...

peeps get a bit confused about oak.. IMHO... its hard to 'see' a growth rate on a 75 foot tall tree ... not many peeps hang around young ones.. and really pay attention to how fast they grow.. once they get over transplant shock ...

and i dont buy this taproot carp .... thats not really how trees grow ... no matter what they say ... if you buy a larger tree.. that was field grown.. and dug.. the tap root will be ruined.. and will not replicate itself ... or so i believe ... [lets see who argues over that.. lol] ....

if you ever saw a tree fall over.. with its roots sticking up 90 degrees... the whole root mass seems to be no more than a foot or 3 deep ... see link ...

regardless.. it will find and enjoy the available water ...

best advice: buy a small one.. 3 to 5 foot.. plant in spring.. and choose one in fall to insure color ... same size ... two oaks and an elm ... [just in case the elm dies.. lol] ... go small twice.. for less than one larger ....

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: i dont see a single taproot ...


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

To second what Ken said, oak taproots don't last forever. Over the years, as the tree matures, the taproot is replaced with a system of laterals. I've got an old, rotting white oak to prove it.

I actually kind of like trees like Beech and White Oak that hold onto their leaves in the winter - Gives a bit of interest, with wind rattling the dry leaves.

I actually like Chinkapin oak - Gets quite gnarled and picturesque with age.


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

If you have a shallow water table try Swamp white oak (Quercus Bicolor) Swamp chestnut oak (Quercus Michauxii) Overcup oak (Quercus Lyrata) Those are white oaks. Red oaks are Quercus nuttalli or Nuttalls oak, (Quercus Shumardi) Shumards oak. If your soil doesn't remain too moist, I guess any oak is okay.


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

  • Posted by beng z6b western MD (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 12:30

Below's a Chinkapin oak in the Hagerstown City Park. There's one in the park that's much bigger than this one:


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

There's a chinkapin oak along our property line that is nearly that big - Less lower branches, though. They really don't have much autumn coloration, though - Sort of a mocha brown.


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

I know it's a little late but I thought I'd let you know my pin oak has put on 4 feet and 3 inches already this year of new growth. I am simply amazed at the growth rate of this tree. I don't live next to water nor have we got a lot of rain here in northern Ohio. I think it has to do with how cool we are staying this summer (low 80s) with no extreme heat. I will be planting three more of these trees this fall.


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RE: Pin or Red. . . which is the best Oak?

The original question about red and pin, the 2 have really different shapes, I love both, but, just think the Pin tends to have those drooping branches, even when limbed up, some need cut off after they die out. The Red may look better when older, not to say the Pin gets ugly. If you want massive horizontal branches on a red family oak, choose Red oak. But don't count out the White oak family. But Seriously Red oak live a long time, and do usually slightly outgrow a White oak, in speed, not size, besides upland Chestnut oak, they grow super fast, that is Quercus Prinus/Montana, not the Water Chestnut oak.


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