I'm gradually trying to get invasives removed from our property, replacing with natives to this area. I believe this is a tree seedling, and I think it's white oak (which would be good for this area). Can anyone confirm or advise what it really is? Can I safely move it (because I can't really leave it where it decided to grow). Larger, close-up image click here. WhiteOakSeedling

2 Answers 2


That is a White Oak, Quercus alba.

You can move it now, if you take it with a very large root ball, and water it well. Even at that size, It will have a large well developed root system. The ball should be at least 18" deep and wide, and without cracks. Plant it in loosened soil in a hole at least a foot wider than the root ball.

I have had the best success with transplanting oaks in the fall after leaf drop (or leaf dieback). I take a sharp shovel and dig out the entire root system, and carefully loosen all of the soil and shake it out. I then plant it in a large hole by removing enough soil to contain all the roots with 6" clearance at all points. I then carefully fill in around the roots with screened topsoil, being careful not to leave pockets. I tamp down as I go so there will be little settling.

After planting, I water at 1/2 gpm for 15 minutes or so, until the soil is quite damp all the way down. This way of planting can be done in less than twenty minutes per tree with practice. The trees have always responded well to this and get off to a good start.

  • I believe this one more fully answers the question.
    – GDD
    May 31, 2014 at 11:53

From the shape of the lobes on the leaves, it should be a variety of White Oak

White Oak with rounded lobes

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Eastern Black Oak with spikes on sharply defined lobes

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  • I found images like that @Fiasco. The leaf shape looks right but those leaves look darker green & more crisp than my seedling's leaves. Quercus alba (White Oak) is Maryland State Tree.
    – GDD
    May 30, 2014 at 21:16
  • 1
    @GDD Oak leaves on young plants are less glossy and dark than those of mature trees. They'll be true to form when the tree gets older.
    – J. Musser
    May 31, 2014 at 1:47
  • Yep, very light green like that in spring. Our Western Black Oak is a similar color starting out. (first picture, top bush -> gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/9508/is-this-poison-oak/…) May 31, 2014 at 5:14

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