White Oak (Quercus alba)
3 Gallon (1-2 ft tall) and 10 Gallon (4.5-6 ft tall, 1.25" caliper)
Exposure: Part sun-sun
Mature Height: 50-80 feet
Mature Width: 50-80 feet
Notable Features: White Oak is the state tree of Illinois. It is the only oak of the white oak group that has russet red fall color. In youth, the leaves tend to persist over the winter. As the tree ages, the leaves fall off in autumn. Grows in sand and clay but never in very wet sites. Most of our oaks are intolerant of shade, but White Oak is mildly shade-tolerant, needing only 3-4 hours of sun daily. Somewhat slower growing than others in the White Oak family. High ecological value!
Attracts: Caterpillars of the butterflies Calycopis cecrops (Red-Banded Hairstreak), Fixsenia favonius ontario (Northern Hairstreak), Parrhasius m-album (White-M Hairstreak), Satyrium calanus falacer (Banded Hairstreak), and Satyrium liparops strigosum (Striped Hairstreak) feed on the foliage, as do caterpillars of the skippers Erynnis brizo(Sleepy Duskywing) and Erynnis juvenalis (Juvenal's Duskywing). Probably several hundred species of moth caterpillars feed on the foliage and other parts of oaks. Moth caterpillars that feed on White Oak include Acronicta haesitata (Hesitant Dagger Moth), Catocala ilia (Ilia Underwing), Lambdina fervidaria (Curve-Lined Looper), Lymantria dispar (Gypsy Moth), Valentina glandulella (Acorn Moth), several Cameraria spp. (Blotch Leaf-Miners) and Phyllonorycter spp. (Tentiform Leaf-Miners). Other insects that feed on White Oak include the larvae of Acraspis erinacei (Hedge-Hog Gall Wasp) and other gall wasps, the larvae of Arrhenodes minutus (Oak Timberworm), the leaf beetles Cryptocephalus guttulatus and Lupraea picta, Stegophylla quercicola and other aphids, many species of treehoppers, many species of leafhoppers, Asterolecanium variolosum (Golden Oak Scale), Corythucha arcuata (Oak Lace Bug), Lygocoris quercalbae (Oak Plant Bug) and other plant bugs, and Diapheromera femorata (Northern Walkingstick). Because the acorns of White Oak are produced annually and they are less bitter than those of the majority of oaks, they are an important source of food for many birds and mammals. Such birds as the Wild Turkey, Crow and Blue Jay eat the acorns, as do such mammals as the raccoon, Fox Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Red Squirrel, Southern Flying Squirrel, Eastern Chipmunk, White-Footed Mouse, and White-Tailed Deer. White-Tailed Deer also browse on the twigs and foliage of White Oak, while the Cottontail Rabbit gnaws on the bark and twigs of saplings and seedlings during the winter. Some birds construct nests on the branches of White Oak and other oaks, while other birds nest in the cavities of older trees. Tree squirrels, bats, and raccoons also use the cavities of older trees as dens.