Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Pin Oak, Swamp Oak
Quercus palustris

Family: Fagaceae (fag-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Quercus (KWER-kus) (Info)
Species: palustris (pal-US-triss) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

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over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 22 photos.
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2 positives
4 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Nov 10, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is commonly planted in the Eastern and Midwestern US because it is fast growing of about 2 feet/year and does not develop a taproot like most oaks, making it easier to transplant. It is a good quality and handsome tree, but is often over-planted. It must have an acid soil of pH 6.8 or below; otherwise, it develops iron chlorosis, and slowly yellows and dies. It grows in bottomlands and the scientific Latin name means Swamp Oak, thus it suffers in strong drought. Some years it suffers from anthracnose fungi disease on the foliage, causing brown areas on the leaves. Long, sharp, spur branches are borne on some larger branches.

Neutral Timberplot On Mar 6, 2014, Timberplot from Blairsville, PA wrote:

A very popular and fast growing tree here in Western PA. where soils are generally acidic and conducive to tree requirements.
Biggest problem I see with this tree planting is sizing and spacing. Due to Pin Oak growth habits (horizontal limbs with extremely broad crown), the tree is often planted in a confined area without much planning for crown size in 10 to 20 years.
The tree should not be planted within 20' of house, buildings or other large growing trees. To get the most from your Pin Oak plantings, give them a lot of space.
Great tree for wildlife including Squirrels, Turkey, Wood Duck, and Blue Jays.
Many of my Pin Oak plantings retain their leaves into spring and certain others exhibit brilliant Fall colors. I would guess it depends on soil and genetic variability.

Neutral coriaceous On Mar 2, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is the most commonly planted shade tree in the eastern US. I think there are many superior oaks for urban planting.

The lower branches droop downward over time, and trees periodically need their lowest branches removed where people want to walk under them.

Unlike northern red oak (Quercus rubra), it doesn't consort gracefully with others of its species in a grove, due to its horizontal branches at middle height.

Unlike the southern pin oak (Quercus phellos), it's very intolerant of high-pH soils, and doesn't perform well in the hot summers of the southeastern US Z7-9.

Negative themikeman On Mar 17, 2011, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

If you live in the Southeast and have clay soil you do not want to plant this tree in your yard. After about 15 to 20 years the trees will be unable to absorb the iron that they need from the alkaline clay soil and they will get Iron Chlorosis Disease. The trees will start to get yellowing of the leaves especially on the newer leaves and the the limbs will rot from the top of the tree down. Treating this is prohibitively expensive as trees are usually 40 to 100 feet tall when over 20 years old and once the disease is often recognized the tree may be to far gone by then anyway to treat with iron injections or iron sulphate bags planted in the ground around the base of the tree which can burn the roots or damage them when planting in holes around the tree as the roots are close to the surface, and liquid iron can only be absorb in chleated form and can also burn the roots and usually wont work either. avoid these trees!! large rotting limbs from these old trees can cause serious injury to your loved ones and home/property as well, they are not worth the aggrivation, with so many more beutiful hardy large varieties available. mike

Neutral escambiaguy On Mar 9, 2006, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Nice looking tree but looks a little stessed in zone8+ during summer months. If you're in the deep south, Quercus Falcata or Quercus Shumardii would make a better choice.

Neutral smiln32 On Nov 9, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This tree is deciduous and native to the central and eastern U.S. They are great to line streets as they hold their leaves through winter creating a nice look. Prefers acid soil.

Fine textured leaves are russet/brown/red in autumn.

Positive melody On Jul 7, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Similar to the Scarlet Oak, but the end buds are hairless, small and sharp. Lower branches slope downward with many stubby pinlike branches present.

Leaves tend to remain on the tree in winter.

Acorns are essential to wildlife for survival.

Squirrel hunters say that Pin Oak groves are the best habitat for getting the limit for squirrels.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Prescott, Arizona
Manteca, California
Dover, Delaware
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Marietta, Georgia
Roswell, Georgia
Moscow, Idaho
Carbondale, Illinois
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Hampton, Illinois
Hinsdale, Illinois
Wichita, Kansas
Benton, Kentucky
Lexington, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Chaska, Minnesota
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Lincoln, Nebraska (2 reports)
Concord, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Hilliard, Ohio
Middletown, Ohio
Blairsville, Pennsylvania
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Waterford, Pennsylvania
Christiana, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Pocahontas, Tennessee
Wytheville, Virginia
Seattle, Washington
Elmwood, Wisconsin

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