Northern Pin Oak
Scientific name: Quercus ellipsoidalis
Northern pin oaks are medium-sized, deciduous trees native to the northeastern United States. Also known as hill’s oak or jack oak, this tree favors dry, upland sites. These oaks are cylindrical in shape and have a rounded crown, reaching 50-70 ft tall by 40-60 ft wide. Small yellow-green flowers bloom in spring. Fruits are elliptic acorns (hence the species name ellipsoidalis) and are valuable food sources for wildlife. Dark green leaves are 3-7 inches long and have deep, bristle-tipped lobes. The leaves turn russet red in the autumn. When this tree grows in the wild, its lower branches are often shaded, leading to death and breakage; the broken branches leave pin-like stubs on the tree – giving this oak its common name. Northern pin oak is similar in appearance to pin oak (Quercus palustris), which prefers lowland areas in more southern regions. It tolerates drought and dry soils and grows easily in average, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun. It is a valuable tree for cavity-nesting and migrant birds. This shade tree can be planted in lawns, parks, or medians. It typically grows in plant hardiness zones 4-7.