Oak trees are a great addition to your Oregon yard, even if you live on the Oregon coast. In Oregon, oak trees are long-living trees, meaning that are a great choice if you want to plant a tree that will last for decades, providing future generations with a great place to swing or climb.
With over 500 different species of oak trees, it may be overwhelming to decide which would grow best in your yard and which would be the most visually-appealing addition to your landscape. Here are five oak trees for Oregon yards, including varieties appropriate for yards out on the coast.
The water oak, also known as Quercus nigra, stays true to its name and thrives in areas of wet weather like the Oregon coast. Even though water oak trees are native to the eastern and south-central United States, they can grow in Hardiness Zones 6 through 9.
Water oak trees grow well near water sources and in moist soil, but they are versatile and can also handle areas that are well-drained and have heavy, compacted soil. They are fast-growing trees, and at maturity, they can reach heights of 50 to 80 feet high, with thick, leathery, dark-green leaves that turn yellow in the fall. Their shape is conical or round-topped.
To grow at their healthiest, water oak trees should be planted in an area of full sun or partial shade.
The coast live oak, or Quercus agrifolia, is another oak varietal true to its name, like the water oak, and is a great choice for yards on the Oregon coast. They can thrive in Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. Coast live oak trees are beautiful evergreen oaks that are rounded in shape and grow well in valleys and slopes that are near streams and lakes.
Coast live oak trees can reach heights of 25 to 82 feet tall and widths of 15 to 35 feet wide. They grow at a moderate to slow speed with dark green, have oval leaves, and should be planted in an area that gets full sun to part shade. They are pretty easy to care for once planted too.
Nuttall’s oak tree, known scientifically as Quercus nuttallii, is one of the most well-adapted oak trees and can be used for general landscaping. It’s also known as red oak, red river oak, or pin oak. It grows well in soil that is wet with poor drainage. These trees do not have many issues with disease or pests and grow well in Hardiness Zones 6 through 9.
If you choose to plant a Nuttall’s oak tree in your yard, you can have a nice-sized tree within a decade, since they add two to four feet to their height each year. At maturity, they reach heights of 40 to 60 feet high and widths of about 35 to 50 feet. They should be planted in an area that gets full sun.
One other positive of Nuttall’s oaks is that they do well when transplanted, meaning if you need to move one for any reason or if you buy one that’s already a few years old, it will still grow well in its new home.
The swamp white oak, scientific name Quercus bicolor, thrives in low-lying and swampy areas. They grow in Hardiness Zones 4 to 8, which means that they won’t grow well in every Oregon coast yard. If you are part of Hardiness Zone 8, this is an option for you. These trees can live over 300 years, so know when you plant them that you are planting them for the long haul and make sure their placement is appropriate for their expected height and width.
At maturity, swamp white oak trees can reach heights of 50 to 60 feet and widths of about the same. They grow in a rounded shape and are fast growers, adding about 13 to 24 inches in height each year. They should be planted in an area that gets full sun. Even though swamp white oak trees grow well in wet soil, they can tolerate drought as well.
Evergreen oak trees are great for coastal yards, as they do well with sea spray. Japanese evergreen oak trees, scientifically called Quercus acuta, are an especially great choice for Oregon yards. Even though they are native to Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and parts of China, they grow well in Hardiness Zones 6 to 9.
The Japanese evergreen oak is one of the slower growers of the oak species. They reach heights of 30 to 40 feet tall and have spreads of around 20 feet wide, so if you are looking for a smaller oak tree for your yard, this may be the one for you. They should be planted in an area that receives full sun or partial shade. Japanese evergreen oak trees are also able to tolerate a variety of different soil conditions.
As you can see, if you are looking for oak trees in Oregon for your yard, one of the five oak trees mentioned above could be a good fit for you, even if you’re out on the coast.
If you are still unsure as to which oak would work best for your yard’s location and growing conditions, Vernon Imel is here to help. We have been serving the Pacific Northwest coast for over 20 years and know a thing or two about which trees grow well here and which ones do not. Please contact us today, and we’ll give you a hand.
We can answer any questions you may have about which oak trees you should plant in your Oregon yard. Alternatively, if you have already decided which you would like to plant, we can do the planting for you. By using a professional arborist like Vernon Imel, you are ensuring your new oak tree is planted properly and safely, giving it a great foundation so it can thrive.