Plant ID forum: What kind of oak?

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Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
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Kabby
Apr 24, 2014 3:51 PM CST
I live on a river and I have cherrybark oaks and water oaks, but this is a new one. I "think" these are some kind of white oak from what my research indicates, rounded leaves. I have never had white oaks before and these are sprouting all over I guess from my squirrel population. The photos are from 3 different plants.

Thumb of 2014-04-24/Kabby/1e18b5


Thumb of 2014-04-24/Kabby/245334


Thumb of 2014-04-24/Kabby/649f08

Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Apr 24, 2014 4:34 PM CST

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I can see bristles at the tips of the leaf lobes which would put them in the red oak group. Red oaks are notoriously difficult to identify by the leaves alone, especially as seedlings. At this point, it's impossible to say with any certainty which species they are. But, given that you said there are cherrybark oaks (a member of the red oak group) in the area, they are most likely cherrybark oak seedlings.
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
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Kabby
Apr 24, 2014 4:46 PM CST
Kent how wonderful I am so delighted! I lost one of my two cherrybarks last year to straight line winds, I was heartbroken. Thanks so much.


Thumb of 2014-04-24/Kabby/16c0ad

Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Apr 24, 2014 5:54 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I thought the rounded leaves indicated white oak, while red oaks always had pointy leaves? I feel like I'm about to learn something here!
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
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KentPfeiffer
Apr 24, 2014 7:11 PM CST

Moderator

Red oaks don't always have pointy leaves, but they do (almost) always show bristles at the tips of the lobes of their leaves. For example, Shingle Oaks and Blackjack Oaks are both in the red oak group, but they don't have particularly pointy leaves. If you look closely, you can see the bristles though (Shingle Oak leaves obviously don't have lobes, but do have bristles at the leaf tip)

Shingle Oak
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Blackjack Oak
Thumb of 2014-04-25/KentPfeiffer/bf8d5a

With seedlings, it gets much more complicated. Even the "pointy leaf" species of red oaks tend to have rounded leaves as seedlings. These are Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) seedlings:

Thumb of 2014-04-25/KentPfeiffer/d5932b

A couple of years ago, we started working with a couple of researchers who were interested in studying the effects of some restoration work we recently started in a 3,000 acre oak forest near here. There are four species of oak (red, black, bur, and chinkapin) there, plus about 400 other species of plants. One of our most basic needs is to figure out which species of oak are regenerating (or not) and how it relates to our management activities (or not). They said that they could design a study to help get that answer, but they didn't know how to identify oaks to species as seedlings. My botanist friend said 'We can teach you that'. So, we took them out in the woods and, you know what, it WASN'T easy to tell the seedlings apart Hilarious! , even with just four species that are very distinct as adult plants. I walked by the patch of seedlings in the picture above and said 'There's some chinkapins'. One of the researchers said 'How can you tell?' so I got down on my knees and said 'See how the lobes are somewhat rounded and don't have any bristles'. Oops! Shrug!
[Last edited by KentPfeiffer - Apr 24, 2014 8:08 PM (+)]
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Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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gingin
Apr 24, 2014 7:42 PM CST
Kent...I'm glad you mentioned black jack as a possible as that was my first thought. They are short lived here, but coveted as the best wood for smokers.
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Apr 24, 2014 7:49 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Thank you, Kent. Thumbs up Have some acorns. Your post was so helpful. I will look for those bristles to help know I'm looking at a red oak group. I've learned so much from you!
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Apr 24, 2014 8:05 PM CST

Moderator

*Blush* I tip my hat to you.
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
Butterflies Tropicals Bulbs Lilies Daylilies Garden Procrastinator
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Kabby
Apr 24, 2014 9:48 PM CST
@Kent we had a park ranger here one day checking sea wall permits and he went around my yard naming every tree I had. He's the only reason I know I had cherrybarks. He said the same thing when I pointed out a seedling that I wanted IDed, that it's difficult to tell on seedlings. I may post another photo of a different seedling tomorrow. Thanks so much for your good info!

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