When to Plant Oak Trees

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Many oak trees grow 80 feet tall.
Many oak trees grow 80 feet tall. (Image: Oak Tree image by efacade from Fotolia.com)

The oak, or Quercus, family of trees includes hundreds of species. Oak trees provide shade, fall colors and food for wildlife. These trees are evergreen or deciduous, slow-growing, long-lived and most reach heights of 80 feet with equal sized spreads. Planting oak tree requires preparation to ensure the tree thrives for decades to come.

Selecting Oak Trees

Select an oak tree based on your location and the specific U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone where you live. Oak tree planting zones range from live oak species suited for zones 7 through 10 to more cold-hardy varieties, such as white, bur and northern red oaks that thrives in zones 3 through 8. Only purchase healthy oak trees obtained from a reliable source a day or two before your planting date.

Best Time to Plant

Oak trees, like other trees, can be planted at any time when the ground is not frozen. One of the best times to plant oak trees is in late summer up to the beginning of fall. This permits the oak tree to establish roots before the ground freezes in the winter. The second best time for planting oak trees is at the end of winter through the beginning of spring, after the last chance of frost has passed in your location.

Location for Oak Trees

Find a location to plant the oak tree in full sun and most soil types, except damp. Allow a sufficient amount of room all around the oak tree for the expected full-grown size in both height and width. Stay clear of any buildings, roadways, walkways and any areas with overhead wires or other obstructions or places with underground pipes, tanks or utilities. Do not forget, even though the oak tree you plant may be under 10 feet tall; oak trees grow very tall.

Planting an Oak Tree

Water the oak tree well several hours or the day before your planting date. Select a cloudy, damp, cool day or wait until early evening to plant oak trees. Dig a hole a little bit shallower than the container or root ball and no less than three times the width. Loosen the root system and place the oak tree in the middle of the hole. Backfill the hole and then add water to settle the oak tree in place.

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