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Riverwoods Oaks

Did you know that there are over 400 species of oaks? Some are large and some are small. Some are deciduous and most are evergreen.

white oak leaf
White Oak

pin oak leaf
Pin Oak

bur oak leaf
Bur Oak

swamp oak leaf
Swamp Oak

red oak leaf
Red Oak



Oaks in this part of the country are deciduous - they shed their leaves in the winter. The same species in warmer climates may be evergreen.

Oaks in Riverwoods have two distinguishing characteristics:

  • They are large, stately, deciduous trees that can live several hundred years and appear indestructible, and
  • In some respects they are actually very delicate.
While oaks can tolerate brutally harsh winters and long, hot summers, they are extremely intolerant of any soil disturbance anywhere near their root zone. The root zone may reach three times the branch spread. Oaks require full sun and most require deep, well-drained soil. Because their roots are delicate, most oaks can be transplanted only when very young, i.e., when the trunk is less than about 3 inches in diameter at chest height. Oaks reproduce through acorns, which are an important source of food for area wildlife, including squirrels, woodpeckers, deer, chipmunks and raccoons. Having an ample supply can be critical to their survival.

Seedlings can grow several feet in a year. Seedlings, new twigs and saplings are favored by deer, however, so oak saplings in Riverwoods are rare. All saplings should be carefully protected to prevent browse damage. It is best to protect the trunks of all trees less than about 3 inches in diameter, to avoid girdling - the removal of a tree's outer bark layer around the circumference of the tree when deer rub their antlers against the tree trunk.

Unfortunately, oak trees are also targeted by gypsy moths, so the Village should be notified of infected trees.

To read the article on oaks the RPC published in the Village Voice, Click Here.

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© Riverwoods Preservation Council- - Page last updated: December 2009