Riverwoods Preservation Council

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Pin Oak - We Have Lots of Them

Pin Oaks are numerous in Riverwoods. Like other oaks, however, they are aging and new saplings are rare.

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



Pin Oak Leaf

Pin oaks, unlike many other oaks, have adapted to the heavy, damp clay soil common in Riverwoods. They tolerate all but shallow, dry soil, and prefer damp, well-drained soil.

The pin oak, with its relatively shallow root system, is especially tolerant of wetter conditions. In fact, it does best in heavy, wet clay soil. It prefers the acidic soil of wooded areas, and is less tolerant than other oaks of the alkaline soil typical of many open areas in the Midwest.

Pin oaks are relatively fast-growing oaks, with a more upright appearance than other oaks. They can reach 100 feet in height. Pin oaks survive transplanting somewhat better than most other oaks, which means you can purchase larger specimens with greater assurance that they will survive (if you protect them from the deer).

The leaves of the pin oak are similar to those of the white oak - long with 3 to 4 pairs of pronounced lobes. The lobes on the white oak's leaves are rounded, whereas the lobes on the pin oak's leaves are more pronounced and sharply pointed.

The pin oak's trunk is gray. Its fall foliage is typically bronze to bright red. The pin oak, like the red oak, is somewhat more susceptible to oak wilt disease than other oaks.

The pin oak is believed to have gotten its name from the pin-like spurs that sometimes appear on young shoots.

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