White Oak is the state tree of Illinois. It is the only oak of the white oak group that has russet red fall color. In youth, the leaves tend to persist over the winter. As the tree ages, the leaves fall off in autumn. Grows in sand and clay but never in very w ... et sites. Unlike most native oaks, White Oak is mildly shade-tolerant, needing only 3-4 hours of sun daily. Somewhat slower growing than others in the White Oak family.