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White Oak Tree Care Guide

White oak was a part of the oak-pine forests surrounding the Toronto region before European settlement. Even today, some trees continue to grow in the area. Most of them are in North Toronto alongside the corridor to Queen’s Park. The tree is highly compatible with the sandy soils of Toronto and is still being planted in parks and on large properties.

The tree will not disappoint if you plan to include it as a part of your landscape design. It is one of the most valuable native trees you can plant to support wildlife and the local ecosystem. Here is a white oak tree care guide to help you look after the health and beauty of the tree.

Qualities of White Oak

Size at Maturity

The white oak grows to a maximum height of 50-80 feet and will spread just as much at maturity.

Growth Rate

The tree grows at a slow to medium rate, adding around 12 to 24 inches in a year.

Sunlight Preference

The tree loves full sunlight and partial shade. It requires a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight each day.


  • Leaves turn into beautiful shades of red or burgundy in the fall
  • Develops strong branches and can live for centuries
  • Produces acorns that are up to 1 inch long
  • Develops a deep tap root system which makes it difficult to transplant
  • Extremely sensitive to soil compaction and construction disturbances
  • Less susceptible to oak wilt
  • Sensitive to excessive irrigation of newly planted lawns

Wildlife Value

White oak provides shelter and food to numerous wildlife species. Acorns are an excellent food source for wildlife such as birds and rodents. Leaf buds are also a source of nutrition for several bird species. And all parts of the tree are a favourite food for deer. It attracts butterflies and supports 934 caterpillar species throughout Canada. White oak is one of the best trees if you want to support pollinators and attract wildlife.

7 Things to Know About White Oak Tree Care

Direct Sunlight

White oak requires direct sunlight to thrive. Young trees can tolerate partial shade, but the tolerance level decreases as they age. To ensure optimum tree care, plant it where it can receive full sunlight. It will also produce attractive leaf colours in the fall.

Moist Soil

The tree requires moist, well-drained, and slightly acidic to neutral soil. It can adapt to other soil types and survive mild drought and rarely occurring wet soil. However, it cannot withstand alkaline, shallow, or contaminated urban soils.

Regular Watering

If you have newly planted a white oak, you should water it regularly until established. When planting the tree, spread mulch beneath the canopy to help it retain moisture. In addition, ensure the tree doesn’t have to compete with grass and surrounding plants for water.

No Supplemental Fertilization

When it comes to white oak tree care, you don’t need to focus on supplemental fertilization. However, it is vital to test the soil and improve its composition to prevent soil deficiencies. Although the test results will give you the final answer, a fertilizer with a low nitrogen content is usually best for oaks to ensure strong branch growth.


White oak withstands an average temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate higher temperatures compared to other Northern species and can endure the warm regional climates.


Mature oak trees do not require extensive pruning except for the occasional removal of dead branches. However, young ones require regular pruning to ensure health and safety. It helps to hire a tree care service that knows the importance of pruning young oak trees. A specialist tree service such as DreamWorks Trees Services will inspect the tree canopy and remove heavy limbs to prevent limb failure. This ensures the tree can support healthy foliage. Winter and early spring is the best time for pruning as the tree is still dormant.

Tampering the Oak Tree

If you plan to hang a swing on a white oak tree, avoid driving nails into its trunk. Instead, insert the rope into a rubber tube to create a cushioned layer to prevent rubbing the growing tree branches. It will also allow the tree to grow freely without feeling strangled. In addition, remember never to whitewash a tree as it is against the rules of the Live Oak Society.

3 Ways of Planting a White Oak

Sowing Saplings

Planting saplings is the first crucial step in tree care as it will determine the overall health and growth of the tree. Although it is easy, you should plant them when spring arrives.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Dig a hole that is as deep as the sapling’s root ball and twice its width.
  • Place the root ball in the hole and fill the surrounding space with a soil mixture and compost.
  • Now provide adequate water to your sapling.
  • Finally, add mulch with little tree bark to protect the roots and retain moisture.

Container-Grown Oak

If you care for your tree, avoid growing them in containers. Although it is possible to grow a white oak in a large container for several years, it cannot reach its full potential. Their taproots grow very deep, and the tree grows at a considerable length. The best way to care for your white oak is to plant young sapling directly in the ground to allow it to grow at its natural pace at full length.


Planting acorns is the most suitable way of propagating white oak. You should collect an undamaged acorn during the autumn and plant it in one-inch deep, slightly acidic soil in a pot. Allow the acorn to germinate throughout the winter season. This process is called stratification, where you expose it to cold temperatures for germination. When the spring arrives and the acorn sprouts, plant it directly in the ground.

Hire a Specialized Tree Care Service in Toronto

White Oak Tree Care GuideFor over ten years, we have served as tree care specialists in Toronto and the GTA. Hiring a licensed and insured company like DreamWorks Tree Services means we take a tailored approach to keep your trees safe, healthy, and beautiful in one appointment.

Our professional arborists have extensive knowledge, expertise, and equipment to provide comprehensive tree care solutions for any type of residential or commercial property. We guarantee that our expert arborists and lawn technicians will provide you with an affordable, reliable, and efficient service.

Contact us at 647-924-2627 or fill out our contact form if you are in need of tree care.

11+ years of experience maintaining trees the right way

We offer the best tree care services to maintain your property while ensuring the health of your trees by providing reliable tree care solutions.