5 Great Fast Growing Oak Trees

Updated on August 27, 2012

Looking For Fast Growing Trees?


If you are searching for fast growing trees you are not alone and fast growing oak trees may be the answer. Many people mistakenly believe that oak trees, with their great size and majestic form, grow slowly. However, that is not the case. While some oak trees do grow slowly, there are several varieties that grow at a fast pace. That means you can plant an oak tree in your landscape and actually see it achieve a nice size before you move out.

bright red oak leaves in fall are hard to beat
bright red oak leaves in fall are hard to beat

The Top 5 Fast Growing Oak Trees


California White Oak – The California White Oak is a native to California and grows in zone 7-11. It is a tree that will end up around 60 feet high and 60 feet wide when it is mature. This oak likes it rather dry, so little water is needed after you get it acclimated to the new site. In fact, you should not plant California White Oak in a wet spot as it may not survive. There is little Fall color with this tree as the leaves stay mostly green.

Northern Red Oak – The Northern Red Oak is a beautiful tree that is grown in zones 3-8, making it one of the more common oak trees in the U.S. The Northern Red Oak gets taller than it does wide, maturing as high as 75 feet with a 50 foot width. The leaves of the Northern Red Oak are the classic oak leaf with multiple lobes and pointed ends. This tree holds its branches well and accepts city conditions, making it a great choice in an urban setting. The Fall color cannot be beat, with leaves turning brilliant red to rust before falling to the ground.

Pin Oak – The Pin Oak is another classic oak tree that grows well in zones 4-8. About as tall but narrower than the Northern Red Oak, the Pin Oak matures at around 70 feet high and 40 feet wide. The Pin Oak is easy to spot due to its branching habit, with upper branches pointing up, middle branches pointing out, and lower branches pointing down. The Pin Oak leaf looks similar to the Northern Red Oak and turns shades of orange, copper, rust, and bright red in the Fall. Pin Oak trees will hold most of their leaves through Winter when young, but will drop more in the Fall as they mature.

Sawtooth Oak – The Sawtooth Oak will grow in zones 5-9 and is a large tree that will grow to about 60 feet wide and 60 feet tall. The leaves of the Sawtooth Oak look a bit different than the classic oak leaf as they are oblong in leaves with no serrations lined with points that make them look like saw blades. The Sawtooth oak will hold most of its leaves in the winter making it a reasonable wind break. Leaves turn yellow, sometimes dull yellow, in Fall.

Water Oak – The Water Oak is grown in zones 6-9 and is another oak tree with unique leaves. The leaves are rounded as opposed to the common pointed leaves of other oak trees. As the name suggests, the Water Oak likes it wet and will do well near a pond or along a stream. The Water Oak may become a very large tree, as big as 80 feet high and wide, so give it room to grow. Beware, however, that the Water Oak will not live as long as other oak trees, although it will most likely last longer than you. Leaves of the Water Oak turn yellow in Fall.

awesome color in an oak leaf
awesome color in an oak leaf

Other Considerations

Be sure that you know which fast growing trees to avoid when you are looking. There are lots of fast growing trees that are not oak trees. Some are great trees. Others will not make you happy in the long run.

Also, know that oak wilt disease is a reality. Do some homework, though, and you'll find that it is not as common as you may believe. In fact, most oak trees get infected as part of a large grove as the primary infection method is through the joined roots of an adjacent oak tree. If you take care to prune at the right time you can nearly eliminate the risk of this problem. In fact, oak trees rarely require any care and, like other low maintenance plants that you can put in your landscape, they are easy to own.

Now that you know you can find a fast growing oak tree, it's time to pick one and get planting.

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