Landscaping & Gardening

Oaks Grow Slowly…NOT!


We recieved a call just the other day from a person looking for for a “fast growing” tree and that a smaller starter plant would be preferred. I offered up a Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinquapin Oak) and ran down the list of superlatives that made it why I’d plant that for his needs other than many others that might work for him. I was stopped half way through; “Woah, woah, woah. Oak trees don’t grow fast. They’re oaks. They grow slow. I want a sugar maple.” After a brief exchange, I was left thinking about why people continue to think oaks grow slowly. So I thought I would post a very quick note.

It has been our experience that many oak species grow as fast or faster than many of the maple species that they are so often replaced by. Our oaks grow at a rate of 30 to 48 inches or more in a given season, where our maples might give us half that number. Please understand that this not a one time thing; these averages are from our observations over 40 years of growing these species. The picture I have included shows an oak and a maple side by side and at the same age. (I really had to search for a maple that would be close, and luckily I had one.)

If anyone would like to know more about this subject please call me at the office, and I’ll be happy to talk further. I just wanted to dispel the rumor that oaks are slow to grow!