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5 Types of Oak Trees for Your Louisville Yard

An oak tree
Oak trees are gorgeous additions to any yard, with their interesting, pinnate leaves and acorns. Most people can recognize oaks from a distance, and the shade they provide certainly makes a space more enjoyable in the summer. But did you know that there are many different varieties of oak trees? The following are five that grow well in the Louisville area.

1. Bur Oak

The bur oak is a large oak variety that grows up to 80 feet tall with a similar spread. Its crown is soft and round, and its leaves are leathery and dark green, turning yellow-brown in the autumn. 

The bur oak an excellent choice for shade, as long as you have a large space to plant it. Bur oaks prefer well-drained soil and will adapt to tolerate some drought. If you're worried about cleaning up acorns, this is a good tree choice: bur oaks often don't produce their first crop of acorns until they're about 35 years old. Occasionally, bur oaks may be bothered by oak leaf blister, leaf spot, and other diseases, but they are generally hardy trees.

2. Scarlet Oak

Do you want an oak tree that will add vibrant fall color to your land? The scarlet oak turns a magnificent shade of red in the fall, and its inner bark is a similar color. The tree matures to about the same height as the bur oak, but with a narrower crown. You can expect a scarlet oak to grow about two feet per year, as reported by the Arbor Day Foundation. These trees require full sunlight, but they're not picky about soil type.

Scarlet oaks produce a particularly large amount of acorns every three to five years. The nuts may be messy, but they attract squirrels, deer, and songbirds to your property.

3. White Oak

Another wide, tall oak species perfect for shade, the white oak is often shaped like an upside-down cone, sporting a broad canopy. This tree is a good choice if you have dry or rocky soil, though it will grow stronger and hardier in moist, well-drained loam. White oaks require full sunlight, so make sure you plant yours in a wide, open space. 

White oaks have leaves that emerge with a pinkish hue in the spring, darken to a deep green by mid-summer, and turn a rusty shade of brown in the fall. These trees begin producing acorns at about 20 years of age, and they release significant numbers of acorns every four to ten years.

4. Live Oak

The live oak prefers warmer climates, and falling in USDA zone 7, Louisville is about as far north as it will tolerate. This is a slightly smaller oak variety than most others on the list, often maturing to only 40 feet tall. However, live oaks are very broad and offer excellent shade. They will also tolerate partial shade, whereas other oaks require full sunlight. Live oaks also tolerate pollution and high winds.

The acorns of live oaks are notably sweet, so they attract plenty of squirrels, raccoons, wild turkeys, and other wildlife.

5. Overcup Oak

The overcup oak is another smaller oak tree, maturing to between 45 and 70 feet in height with a spread of up to 50 feet. It will tolerate full or partial sun, and it can tolerate some flooding and poorly draining, clay soils. Overcup oaks do well in urban areas.

This tree has rich, green leaves that turn yellow in the fall. The upswept shape of its lower branches minimizes the need for pruning.

An oak tree makes a stately, majestic addition to your Louisville yard. With any of these oak varieties, proper care and maintenance early on is key to a long, healthy life. Contact T's Trees to schedule a tree trimming service or other maintenance.