Many trees won't tolerate wet land, so when coming up with a landscape plan for an overly moist yard, many landscape designers will recommend steering away from trees. However, if you're incredibly selective about the type of tree you include, you can enjoy the majesty of tall trees as a part of your landscape design. The pin oak, a beautiful and towering shade tree, loves moisture and will thrive in spite of frequent soil saturation. Learn a little more about this tree, and if it sounds like a variety you'd like, ask your landscape designer to include it in your landscape installation.
Characteristics of the Pin Oak
Pin oak trees reach a height of about 60 feet when mature. They have medium-wide crowns that measure about 25–40 feet across at maturity, making them an excellent source of shade. Pink oaks feature the characteristic, furrowed leaves seen on all species of oak trees. These leaves are bright green in the summer, but turn a lovely red and bronze in the fall.
Like all oak species, pin oaks do produce acorns that will attract squirrels and chipmunks to your property. Their acorns are about ½ inch long, which is smaller than those of most oak species.
Tips for Planting and Growing Pink Oaks
To successfully plant a pin oak, you'll need to start by selecting the optimal site. While moisture is fine and even desirable, shade is not. Pink oaks need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day to thrive. Planting one next to a building or along a fence is not ideal, since it will not get enough sunlight when it is young and small.
It's also wise to conduct a soil test before planting a pink oak. Soil tests can be obtained at most garden stores, and the instructions on the packages should be easy to follow. Pink oaks prefer alkaline soils, so if your soil is neutral or acidic, you'll need to add some lime. Keep in mind that you'll need to add lime to a wide area around the tree, since its roots will eventually spread out. Your soil test should tell you how much lime to add, based on your individual results.
Like most trees, pink oak are hard to grow from seeds. It's much easier to visit your local garden store and purchase a tree that's a year or two old than it is to start from seed. When planting your young tree, be sure to place it in a hole that's wider than its roots, so that the roots can easily expand into the soft soil. Unless your soil is very wet at the time of planting, you should water your new tree in to help it become established.
Pink oaks are rather fast growing for hardwood trees, so within a few short years, you'll have stunning trees in your yard. You may want to have them pruned a few times when they're young to maintain their shape, but other than that, they require little maintenance after planting.