Proportion is a key element of residential landscaping, but all too often houses cower beneath 60 to 100 foot oaks, dwarfed by the looming giants. But there are more diminutive trees and even diminutive oaks. One such oak is the Post oak, or Quercus stellata.

This superb tree eventually reaches medium sized proportions, about 40 to 50 feet tall, making it one tree that will never overwhelm the property.  Also Post oaks are first rate shade trees with a spread equal to its height but with a smaller footprint than many shade trees such as Live oaks, which engulf urban lots while raising sidewalks and driveways. This is less likely to occur with a Post oak which possesses a beautiful deciduous canopy of heavy, twisted branches. This form gives Post oak a venerably rugged look, even at an early age, a characteristic especially desirable in immature landscapes. The four to six inch long leaves are a glossy, dark green, deeply lobed, roughly resembling a Maltese cross and are, arguably, the most beautiful leaves of any oak. Winter, in some areas, turns them a rich copper to golden brown before finally dropping late in the season. And the Post oak’s other asset are the excellent acorns, decorative, and a blessing to wildlife in winter. And speaking of winter brings us to one of this tree's chief assets: its form. A well-grown, mature Post oak with its large curving branches growing from its stout trunk creates a striking silhouette, twisted and wizened.  But in addition to all of its beauty, the Post oak grows well on infertile, disturbed soil which also recommends it for new residential sites.

Providing there is good drainage, Post oak thrives on sandy, acidic or alkaline soil and has reasonable salt tolerance, making it suitable for the seashore.

Post oak grows across most of the US, from the Great Lakes to Florida and west to Missouri, which is a very impressive range of conditions. It is a superb urban, shade tree and a better choice than many of the oaks sold by the large, discount nurseries. It is also successful in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Post oak


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