How Fast Do Oak Trees Grow, Growth Rate, and Sizes

How fast do oak trees grow? You probably have asked the question yourself, especially if you are thinking about having one at the backyard, or even the front yard.

It’s pretty normal to wonder, considering different people may have different perception of the growth. For some people, oak trees may grow so tall and big. For the others, though, it’s not so much. 

Well, you should know that different species determine the growth rate.

Oak trees species, in general, is either evergreen or deciduous ones. They have different growth rate, from slow to pretty fast.

If you want to know which one would be ideal for your home landscape, you need to understand the different species and each of their growth rate in details. 

The Oak Tree’s General Growth  

The Oak Tree’s General Growth  

Oak trees require good care if you want them to reach their ultimate and maximum potential. All species of oak trees can develop and thrive well in full exposure of the sun, to the partial shade.

Too much shade may actually slow the (growth) process. Moreover, oaks that grow in well-drained, acid, and rather humid condition (but not extremely wet) may have better ability (and also susceptibility) to disease. 

Oak Trees Different Types and Rate

Oak Trees Different Types and Rate

So, how fast do oak trees grow? Don’t forget that it depends on the variant.

Some oak species are pretty fast in developing new height, while some may take a longer time. As a starter, the species of white oak tree (known as Quercus Alba) is a tall and deciduous tree that is able to reach 100 feet in height.

However, the growth process is pretty slow. The species generally produces new growth of 10 feet to 15 feet within 10 years to 12 years.

Despite the slow rate, the tree has a pretty long life expectancy, more than 100 years. 

Another deciduous variant is the Southern red oak type (known as Quercus Falcata). But this one has a rather faster rate. It is able to reach up to 70 feet (80 feet, max) with new growth of 25 feet in around 20 years.

Besides the red oak tree, Bur oak trees and English oak trees have moderate rates. Both also show yellow-brown foliage during autumn.

Another variant, the Southern live oak tree (known as Quercus Virginiana) also has a moderate rate. It is able to reach 60 feet tall. 

Water oak tree (known as Quercus Nigra) has a fast rate. It is able to reach 25 feet within 10 years only.

The tree itself can reach up to 60 feet tall. Willow oak tree (or Quercus Phellos) is able to reach 75 feet in height. It is also one of the fastest oak trees to grow, producing 25 feet within 12 years.

The pin oak trees (or Quercus Palustris) are able to reach 70 feet in total height, with the ability to grow 18 inches every year. 

5 Year Old Oak Tree Size

5 Year Old Oak Tree Size

There is no way to determine for sure how tall an oak tree will grow in 5 years.

Again, when you learn about how fast do oak trees grow, it depends on the species. Some oak trees are pretty fast while some are pretty low. For instance, white oak tree is slow.

It reaches 10 feet to 15 feet of height in 10 up to 12 years. So, if you want to know how tall it would be in 5 years, it’s safe to say that it would be likely less than 10 feet.

On the other hand, pin oak tree is pretty said. It can grow around 18 inches per year. So, in 5 years, it should be around 90 inches or around 7.5 feet. 

If you really want to be sure about the height of your oak trees, know what species it is.

Is it the slow-pace type like the white oak or is it the fast-pace type like the pin oak?

Only by knowing the species for sure, then you can determine the standard height and size of a 5-year-old tree.

10 Year Old Oak Tree Size

10 Year Old Oak Tree Size

This is basically the same as the previous section: You need to know the exact species of the oak tree if you are learning about how fast do oak trees grow.

As it was mentioned before, a pin oak tree takes around 18 inches a year.

In 10 years, it would be around 180 inches or 15 feet in 10 years. In the meantime, the white oak tree takes at least 10 years to grow around 10 feet. 

In general, here are some general data about several species and types of oak trees.

  • Black oak is able to reach 65 feet up to 80 feet of height when mature
  • California Black oak is able to reach 65 feet up to 80 feet too
  • Cherrybark oak is able to reach 80 feet up to 100 feet 
  • Laurel oak is able to reach 65 feet up to 80 feet 
  • Swamp Spanish oak is able to reach 50 feet up to 75 feet 
  • Scarlet oak is able to reach 65 feet up to 100 feet 
  • Shumard oak is able to reach 80 feet up to 115 feet
  • Souther Red oak is able to reach 80 feet up to 100 feet
  • Water oak is able to reach 50 feet up to 80 feet
  • Willow oak is able to reach 65 feet up to 100 feet
  • Bur oak is able to reach 80 feet up to 100 feet

How Long Do Oak Trees Live

How Long Do Oak Trees Live
Image Source: Geographs

Besides knowing about how fast do oak trees grow, we should also find out about the average age of oak trees in general.

Basically, oak trees can survive up to 1000 years, with maturate age at 75 and living on for the average of 150 years to 250 years old.

Some very special (and rare) trees can last more than 500 years. Some can even last more than 1000 years! The Mingo Oak, for instance, was said to be 584 years of age before its death in 1938.

But Mingo Oak was nothing when compared to Jurupa Oak which is said to be 13,000 years old.

It’s a Palmer’s oak or Quercus Palmeri that is situated in Jurupa Mountain in Crestmore Heights in California, the USA.

The tree is still living up until now. This tree is able to ‘clone’ itself to survive.

Oak Tree History

Besides the facts of oak tree, when it was discovered in 2009, the tree already had 70 clusters of stems. It had 2.5 kilometers of width and a meter of height. 

So, basically, the normal life span of the oak tree depends on the species, but the average is between 100 and 300 years old although some species may have shorter life span while others have longer period.

Water oak, for instance, only lives for 30 years (50 years, max) while Laurel oak can only live up to 60 years, max.

On the contrary, Southern live oaks are able to survive for more than 200 years.

Angel oak and Middleton oak (both are native to South Carolina) can live up to 400 years, even 500 years of age. 

There are other American oak species that is considered long-lived, including Valley oak (Quercus Lobatea), Canyon live oak (Quercus Chrysolepsis), and Holly oak (Quercus Ilex).

Some of the common oaks are also long-lived, such as the red oak or white oak.

In the UK, they have quite many old speciments of English oak (Quercus Robur). One species that grows at Blenheim Palace is predicted to be around 1500 years old.

In New York Botanical Garden, you can find a red oak of 275 years old within Thain Family Forest. 

Oak Tree Growth Rate Chart

Oak Tree Growth Rate Chart
Image Source:

If you aren’t familiar with the different types of oak trees out there, you can use the chart to help you identify each one of them.

You should also be able to find the growth rate chart for different types of oak tree.

The chart can give you easier ideas and insight about how fast do oak trees grow and what can you expect from each of the species. 

How Fast Do Live Oak Trees Grow

One topic in learning how fast do oak trees grow is about the live oak trees. Quercus Virginiana is the evergreen and deciduous type found in the southern side of the USA.

One of its signature characteristics is the spreading and big canopy – accompanied by the stately appearance and look.

The average height of the tree is around 80 feet, meanwhile the canopy width can reach around 100 feet.

Often times, the long branches would droop downward.

The leaves will stay attached (to the tree) until the new one would push the old ones in the spring. 

This oak likes the humid and warm environment, which makes them suitable for the deep South setting. You can find them grow abundantly in coastal areas.

They are pretty tough against salty soil and air. When it comes to growth, they do it quite fast at first – reaching 2.5 feet a year.

They thrive well in sunny coastal spots, especially in well-drained and sandy soil. But as they grow older, the growth rate will decrease.

The big trees may have a diameter trunk of 6 feet. The tree itself can survive for 300 years, or even more. 

Difference Red Oak Tree and White Oak Tree

Difference Red Oak Tree and White Oak Tree

Whereas most people that all oak trees are the same, they are actually quite different from one variant to another.

Before you dig further to how fast do oak trees grow, it would be great if you can learn the differences. 

If you want to be able to spot the differences, check the leaves. The leaves of white oak tree have rounded ends – like the ones had by bur oak tree.

The foliage comes with rounded serrations (on the margins), which is similar to chestnut oak tree. The leaves of red oak tree, on the other hand, have more variations.

Some of the species may have pointed lobes with bristles on the ends.

Some may come with spiny teeth (on the margins). It’s also possible that some may have smooth edges with only one bristle at the leaf’s apex. 

Another way to spot the difference is to observe the acorn. White oak acorn has faster maturity rate than the red oaks. It can fully develop in one season, while the red oak acorn takes at least two seasons to mature fully.

Because of the different maturity rate, the sizes are also different.

Red oak acorn meat is bitter than the white acorn. It’s because the acorn has tiny hairs within the shell if you take it at a closer look. White acorn doesn’t have any inside hair or whatsoever, it the meat isn’t bitter. 

The tree bark is also different. White oak bark comes with scaly texture and (more) grayish tinge.

The red oak, on the other hand, is darker by nature. In most cases, it’s so dark that it looks black with deep furrows entirely, along with ridges crisscrossing the trunk. 

Oak Tree Common Issues

Oak Tree Common Issues

Aside from the species, how fast do oak trees grow is also affected by things like disease or pests. Insect infestation (like scale) may result in stunted growth.

In mild cases, hand removal is possible. But in severe infestation, the only way to deal with it is through horticultural oil application.

Insect infestation can reduce the oak trees’ vigor. They face growth and health issues that may even lead to death.

That’s why it is advisable to find the core cause of the problem when you see something odd or abnormal signs on the tree.

In this way, you should be able to find the appropriate and correct solution.


In the end, different variants of the oak tree species will determine the total growth and height.

It should help you plan out which type to choose and also how you want to manage the landscape.

By knowing the facts about how fast do oak trees grow, you can calculate the tree’s annual growth as well as being ready for (possible) expansion. 

Leave a Comment