White oak - Quercus alba - A Rare and Endangered Native Tree -

White oak - Quercus alba - A Rare and Endangered Native Tree

Native to North America, the White Oak (Quercus alba) is a huge and noble hardwood tree that produces edible sweet acorns. This species is rare and endangered in Canada.

1-3 Feetsold-out$25.00$0.00
3-5 Feetsold-out$30.00$0.00

The Tree

As an endangered species, the White Oak (Quercus alba) can be found in both southern Canada, all the way through to the southern states of the United States of America. It's hardy to zone 4. Also named Stave Oak, its wood does not rot and was used as staves for barrels in ship construction and to make floors. As a result, it is now rare to find. A slow growing tree, it has a long life span, living up to 450 years old.

Soil and Sun

The white oak (Quercus alba) is extremely adaptable. With the exception of poorly drained or very dry and shallow soil, it can grow in many different soils. The White Oak nut tree is rare in that it grows equally well in sun or shade.


The White Oak is self-fertile, with both male and female flowers growing in the same tree. The pollination is very sensitive to temperature and it is not dependable as an annual crop. Ideally, the weather should be warm for 10 days during flowering and then be followed by cool weather for 13 to 20 days.

The White Oak acorns are called sweet acorn. Acorns can be divided into two categories: bitter and sweet. If you have ever tasted the red oak acorn, you will know it's bitter and inedible! This is because of its high concentration of tannins. Although the White Oak acorn are called sweet, it does not mean you will want to eat them raw when harvested. They still contain traces of tannin that makes them equally inedible without preparation.

The most common way to remove tannins from the acorns is to boil them in water several times (using fresh water each time) until the water is clear (the tannin dissolves in water). Once the tannins are removed, there are several options - they can be dried, roasted, grounded into flour, candied, used as coffee, oiled, used in cake, pies, cookies and so on.

The timber

Due to its high monetary value, many people are making timber plantations of White Oak as a long-term investment. In our opinion, planting a White Oak every 5 metres (16 feet) instead of every 10 metres (33 feet) will produce enough timber to harvest half the plantation whilst keeping the rest for wildlife and future nut harvests. By doing this, it is more cost-effective and will make better use of the space.


The White Oak acorn is also a favorite of wildlife, so you better be fast because squirrels, mice, chipmunks, deers and bluejays love them and might be faster than you! Some people will often decide to plant white oaks in the aim of helping wildlife, and we fully support this idea!

Re-introducing this species in nature is a great gift to our planet.

Height at maturity25 metres (82 feet)
Spacing14 metres (36 feet)
Hardiness zone4
SoilWell-drained, but not extremely dry
Sun / shadeAdaptable
FloweringLate May
Average fruit weight
Fruit colorShell green, brown when mature / Cream core
Years to bear fruit40
Latin nameQuercus alba
Average diameter of fruit
Also known as