Six hundred; the number of known species of oak trees worldwide with nineteen that are native to the great state of Florida. Their majestic beauty often invokes remembrances of long summer days, simpler times, and nostalgia for a Florida before heavy urbanization changed the landscape. Belonging to the genus Quercus, oaks are generally divided into two groups – red and white (Stein, Binion, & Acclavatti, 2003, p. 2).
“White oaks are in the Quercus subgenus Leucobalanus and have leaves lacking bristles on the lobes or leaf apex…Acorns require one growing season (annual) to mature. Red oaks are in the Quercus subgenus Erythrobalanus. This group of oaks is characterized by having leaves with bristles at the tips of the lobes and the leaf apex. The acorns require two growing seasons (biennial) to mature and the overlap in age should be evident when comparing nut size on current and second-year twig growth” (Stein, Binion, & Acclavatti, 2003, pps. 2-3).
The oaks common to Florida are a mixture of red and white. Oaks categorized as red include Black Oak (Quercus velutina), Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica), Bluejack Oak (Quercus incana), Laurel Oak (Quercus laurifolia), Myrtle Oak (Quercus myrtifolia), Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii), Southern Red Oak (Quercus falcata), Swamp Red Oak (Quercus pagoda), Turkey Oak (Quercus laevis), Water Oak (Quercus nigra), and the Willow Oak (Quercus phellos)(Arny, N., 2006, pps. 4-8). Oaks categorized as white in Florida include Bluff Oak (Quercus austrina), Chapman Oak (Quercus chapmanii), Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii), Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata), Post Oak (Quercus stellata), Swamp Chestnut Oak (Quercus michauxii), and the White Oak (Quercus alba)(Arny, N., 2006, pps. 1-4)
As oaks tree are believed to have been in existence since the Cretaceous Period 66 million years ago, they are one of the most hardy trees to have for the landscape. With a documented life span of at least 300 years and the ability to reach heights up to 100 feet, it is no wonder they are spread throughout the state of Florida. Susceptible to diseases such as Armillaria, Ganoderma, and Phytophthora, oak trees require as much care as any other species regardless of their general hardiness. Concerned that an oak on your property may be experiencing distress? Contact LMP at (877) LMP-PRO1 to have our ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified Specialist diagnose the health of your oak or any other species of tree.
Stein, J., Binion, D., & Acclavatti, R. (2003). Field Guide to Native Oak Species of Eastern North America. Retrieved from: https://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/technology/pdfs/fieldguide.pdf
Arny, N. (2006). Common Oaks of Florida. Retrieved from: https://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/IR/00/00/18/06/00001/FR00400.pdf