All across the United States, you can find great towering oak trees. You’ll even find these trees in the state of South Carolina. You might be wondering what species of oak tree you’re looking at, as many of them are similar. But despite those similarities, they’re not all the same! We’ll talk about some SC oak trees and look at their differences.
White Oak (Q. alba)
The White Oak is a large variety of oak tree with a thick trunk and broad branches that stretch out in all directions. It has dark green to blue-green leaves during the warm months before the transition to the fall brilliance that oak trees are known for.
They have deep roots that can make transplanting difficult to impossible if you plan to move them. If you want to relocate an oak tree, you’ll want to do it when the plant is much younger.
White Oak is less likely to suffer oak wilt than red oak species.
Water Oak (Q. nigra)
Water oak is known by several other names, such as Black Oak, North American Barren Oak, North American Black Oak, and Oaks Possum.
This oak is a red medium-sized but fast-growing deciduous tree. It has blue-green leaves. Due to the warmer temperatures, this oak tree is sometimes considered an ever-green in the deep south.
While some oak trees can live to 100 years in age or more, the water oak usually only lives 30 to 50 years. Their wood is also not considered as strong as other oaks and is susceptible to wind and ice damage. For these reasons, choosing different oak varieties when planting is recommended.
Pin Oak (Q. palustris)
The Pin Oak has a somewhat different branch configuration than most other oak trees you might find. The lower branches hang down, the middle branches grow straight, and the upper limbs point to the sky.
This tree gets its name from the many pin-like branches on the lower limbs. Other species of oak trees have very heavy central branches. The Pin Oak instead has many slender branches throughout.
Unlike White Oak, Pin Oak has a shallow root system. This makes the Pin Oak a much easier tree to transplant if the need arises and one of the most popular oaks to use in landscaping.
Unfortunately, Pin Oak is susceptible to bacterial scorch, two-lined chestnut borer, and gypsy moth.
Willow Oak (Q. phellos)
The Willow Oak is by far the hardiest tree and the most popular among landscapers in South Carolina. This beautiful tree has willow-shaped leaves, attractive bark, and lovely winter foliage.
The Willow Oak is pollution and drought-resistant, with no severe disease or pest issues. Due to its shallow root system, this tree can be relocated when necessary.
A fast-growing tree for an oak, reaching heights of 40 to 60 feet and having a spread of 30 to 40 feet, the Willow Oak is considered an excellent choice for shady trees and city planning.
Southern Live Oak (Q. virginiana)
Nothing is so stunning or dramatic as the Southern Live Oak, the sprawling varietal from which heaps of Spanish moss hang. Hundreds of paintings and photographs have captured these trees over the years.
Unlike other oaks, the Southern Live Oak has branches that grow toward the ground first. After touching down, they sweep back up and rise to the sky.
The Southern Live Oak is considered to be nearly evergreen, only losing its leaves for a short period before regaining them. The tree’s acorns are an essential food source for birds and mammals alike.
This tree thrives in coastal regions of the south where it’s warm, and the soil is slightly salty. They don’t tolerate the cold well and won’t be found in northern regions and are found primarily in the south, from Virginia on downward.
SC Oak Trees: Wrapping Up
Oak trees are found throughout the country; South Carolina is no exception to this. The southern state has numerous varieties of trees, including the dramatic and gorgeous southern live oak.
If you’re a landscaper or gardening enthusiast, you won’t be disappointed by all the options available. Just make sure to compare your tree of choice against the location you’re planning on incorporating a new oak tree. Oak trees are available to buy in various sizes from young saplings to slightly older trees.