There are roughly 100 species of oak trees in the US. The
color of the lumber is generally not a good indicator of
whether a given oak is in the "red" group or the "white"
Boat builders favor white oak for two reasons: one is that
it doesn't rot quickly since it doesn't absorb water easily
(red oak rots very quickly if it's allowed to get wet).
The other is that the live oaks fall into the white group,
and they are far and away the best source of compass timbers.
Oaks of any kind make good firewood because it's fairly
dense, and it splits easily.
The tree that's usually called a "live oak" is a white oak.
I think there are some red oaks which are evergreen.
Just wait until the Comet gets to Black Oak. There are three
of them in the US, two are red and one is white.
It's the Quercus Virginiana of the southeast. I know it's considered to
be in the white oak category as far as wood properties because its pores
contain tyloses which is what gives it (white oak, that is) its
water-tightness and highly increased rot resistance as compared to the
Back in the mid-90s or so I think it was(?) there was quite a lot of
interest specifically for the purpose of doing restoration work on the
USS Constitution. I recall reading some research articles done by FPL
comparing various white oaks and Quercus Virginiana won hands down. It
was so popular for boat-building back in the earlier days of the US when
wood boats were all there were that it was the subject of the first US
regulation in trade for a wood species (seems like that was like as
early as in the 1780s or so, even although don't take it to be gospel
but I'm not agonna' look it up at the moment <g>).
As far as I am aware all the live oaks are evergreens; that's why
they're "live" :)
That was specifically because of it's value as a source of
compass timbers. For most purposes (including boat building)
live oak isn't very good, because it doesn't usually have a
long straight trunk. In the days of wooden ships, white oak
(Q. Alba, etc) was normally used for planking, because you
can get long planks from it (and it's desirable to minimize
the number of plank joints). Framing was normally done with
Yes, all live oaks are evergreen. I'm not certain that all
evergreen oaks are white oaks, however.
I have half a dozen of these beauties (in the winter). However,
they constantly shed leaves so it seems. Come spring off goes the
winter set as the new set starts to pull in energy. Likewise in the
Fall, the leave change out again - never all at once, but half and half.
If rainfall is late, the leaves stay on - still working until a
replacement set can be grown.
Interesting tree. The big Burr oak - Had one but it died in a storm.
I think it might have rotted out with to much water. They are wide
canopies something like ? 80 feet! ? From what I recall from the tag.
I could grow several, but I want more than 3 or so trees!
On 1/15/2016 3:20 PM, dpb wrote:
Live oaks keep their leaves all through summer, fall, and winter. And they
stay green until they fall off of the tree in the spring. They are
immediately replaced by new leaves. The falling off and new replacement all
takes place in about 2- 3 weeks.
Well that makes things confusing. LOL
It is common knowledge, common or not, that a live oak is called that
because it's leaves are always green AND leaves only fall off in the
Spring when the new leaves and pollen pushes the old green leaves off.
A real PIA as you can't leave those leaves on the ground very long all.
The choke the new spring growth in the yard.
So now you say that there is a Red Oak that is evergreen that might
categorize it as a Live Oak that is typically a White Oak. would those
be Pink Oaks? ;~)
Sounds just like the scenario that I mentioned above.
I see, sounds kinda like Mesquite trees down here in Texas. They are
not an oak but are mostly shrub like near civilization. If you find old
ones out in the country side they can become relatively large and yield
some decent sized boards. BUT they grow very very slowly and you mostly
see the small shrubs, those are good for cooking fire wood.
Pin oak is one of the red oak group; its wood cells are ring porous (not
tylose-filled as are the white oak group).
That's well out of it's native range which is from eastern KS to the
east coast roughly bounded on north by top of IL, IN, OH and to the
south by southern edged of TN to about the middle of the state then
missing the Cumberlands and Smokeys to be about bottom of OH east. It's
typically bottom-land and thus pretty damp so is regionally called
"swamp oak" (as which I first knew it in SE KS where was prevalent where
my mother was raised). In that range it can get to 60-ft easily but in
the higher elevation of CO and much drier climate it'll struggle to get
some real size, undoubtedly.
Much as I've tried numerous times to bring various oaks and maples and
so on that were rampant as weed seedlings in VA and TN back to the farm
and get them established, they just don't adapt well and none have
survived more than a few years at most in our sandy soils and much less
rain. It's just not possible to put enough into the ground to prevent
the iron chlorosis for anything larger than a shrub long-term.
They can be confused with scarlet oak and black oak but the pin oak has
unique characteristic dead branches on the lower trunk (the "pins") and
also has in mature specimens a characteristic crown shape more similar
to pines/conifers in a triangular profile than other oaks. The leaf is
exceedingly shiny, also, deeply veined.
They were the most common ornamental in Mom's country but the wood is
much inferior to "real" red oak as lumber, typically being full of small
And, that's more than you wanted to know... :)
Having grown up where trees were non-existent except for those planted
around farmsteads and in towns(+), an almost all of what were there
(other than the red-cedar which can be a weed even here altho it's also
invaluable for windbreaks as one of the few things that can survive once
established w/o continual irrigation) were mostly the junky Siberian and
Chinese elm with a few hackberries and the very occasional other random
hardwood. There were so few nut-bearing trees in town until just the
last 20 year or so that there were no squirrels at all.
With that background, when got to S Central VA out of school and was
surrounded by the hardwood forests of most any of the common furniture
woods that were available straight from small independent mills at
almost throwaway prices (I was buying "pick-thru" white oak, rift- or
quarter-sawn at 10-cents a foot or less) the woodworking interest had
had in high-school shop really bit. Consequently, at that time I did a
lot of reading on and studying of trees and their woods both to be able
to understand more of "what was good for what" as well as identify sawn
lumber and the trees from which it came.
I remember a good amount of it; some I did pull out a reference for a
(+) Geezer story alert--proceed at own peril! :)
I mentioned SE KS where mother was raised on a farm on the Neosho River
bottom ground. One fall when quite young we went on a visit to her
family still in the area (altho her folks my grandparents obviously had
given up in the 30s and moved to the Rio Grande valley among the first
wave of the citrus cultivation there). Since all the trees were in
spectacular fall color, my mother kept telling my brother and I in the
back seat to "look at all the colors!" Supposedly I got up off the
floor where we were playing cars and replied "There just trees and all
they do is get in your eyes!" as my only idea of scenery was wide-open
to the horizon flat country.
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