Gerald L. Klingaman
Plant Common Name
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Wonderfully adaptable to many growing conditions, post oak also brings leathery glossy dark green foliage that is striking, acorns, and fall color of a golden orange-brown. This intimidating and statuesque deciduous tree often has gnarled or twisted branches in windier locales. It is native to the southeastern quarter of the United States on dry, gravelly or sandy soils. Ashy gray and platy, its bark later becomes ridged and blocky.
The large, glossy deep green leaves are nearly majestic in shape, having five lobes. Two of the side lobes are squared, so the thick leaf nearly resembles a Maltese cross. Leaf undersides are lighter green and hairy. Male flowers occur in pendent clusters (catkins) in spring before leaves emerge while the tiny female flowers appear slightly later at the bases of the newly emerging leaves. After wind pollination, the female blossoms become small rounded fruits (acorns) with a bowl-shaped cap. Acorns ripen that same growing season in the fall. Leaves can become a richly colored golden orange-brown to orange-red in fall, too.
Grow post oak in full to partial sun in any well-draining soil, acidic to alkaline, dry clay to moist sand. It appreciates moisture in the heat of the growing season and will look most robust in such conditions. It is tolerant of wind, heat, drought and light saltspray, too. So adaptable and tough is this tree that it has potential for use in waste areas in urban sites, large windbreak groves or simple parkland shade and specimens. In dry conditions its mature height is much reduced.
AHS Heat Zone
9 - 4
USDA Hardiness Zone
5 - 9
Full Sun, Partial Sun
60'-70' / 18.3m - 21.3m
55'-68' / 16.8m - 20.7m
United States, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, Central United States, South-Central United States, Texas
Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Clay, Loam, Sand
Drought Tolerant, Average Water
Spring, Summer, Fall