Oregon White Oak

(Quercus garryana)

Enjoy some wine and a cozy fire
Next time you enjoy a glass of wine by a cozy fire, take a moment to thank the Oregon white oak. Its wood is prized for wine barrels, and it is also considered one of the best fuels for home heating. Oregon white oak is also a good host for the truffle (Tuber melanosporum), and many European countries now manage stands of white oak just for this purpose.

But the Oregon white oak’s greatest contribution may be its use as a home by more than 200 species of native wildlife in the region. Many birds and mammals use white oak tree cavities for nesting, roosting or den sites.

Trees in riparian areas can also reduce water temperatures and improve stream conditions for fish. Plus, the Oregon white oak’s acorn production, also known as mast, represents an important food source during fall and winter when other forages are becoming scarce.

Oregon white oak can grow on a wide variety of sites, from valley floors to foothills, and in wet or dry conditions. However, on good sites it is often crowded out by species that grow faster and taller. Hence, Oregon white oak is most common on sites that are too exposed or droughty for other tree species.

This slow-growing, medium broadleaf tree can reach heights of up to 80 feet. Although capable of growing for hundreds of years, when it competes with Douglas-fir, the species needs disturbance from fire or grazing to remain competitive.

The understory of Oregon white oak woodlands tends to be dominated by shade-tolerant trees, shrubs and bushes. The fallen leaf mass of the white oak provides a rich layer of fertile soil.

Oregon white oak grows in diverse climates, ranging from the cool, humid conditions near the coast to the hot, dry environments in inland valleys and foothill woodlands.

A combination of slow growth, shade intolerance, limited market value and the encroachment of coniferous forests into valley woodlands has heightened the importance of Oregon white oak savannas and woodland management. Prescribed burning is an important tool to remove competitors.


9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210        
Portland, OR 97225        
Phone: 971-673-2944        
Fax: 971-673-2946

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