How Long Do Oak Trees Take To Grow and Complete A Lifecycle?

how long does an oak tree take to grow

Oaks can withstand extreme weather, from hurricane-like winds to freezing winter storms. Despite its slow growth, the gigantic oak is a huge tree.


How long does it take an oak tree to grow and mature is what we are going to be discussing today.


It might take up to four decades for an oak tree in the northern United States to reach 30 feet in height. When the tree matures, it can reach the height of 70 feet and span for more than 100 feet. Upon establishment, the tree’s trunk is substantial and has a well-developed root system.


Oak Tree’s growth is influenced by the tree type and the environment in which it grows. A tree’s growth rate can be slowed or accelerated by environmental factors such as droughts or pest infestation.


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Oak Tree Overview

The oak tree has long been a cherished part of American culture. It is true that oaks come in various shapes and sizes.


If you’re looking for an answer to how long oak trees take to grow, you should know that even though it’s a slow-growing tree, it’s also reasonably manageable for a novice arborist.


All around the Northern Hemisphere, this tree may thrive in various temperatures. Because the oak tree is so resilient and has been there for a long time, we have identified its remains in fossils dating back millions of years.


Oak Tree Life Cycle (Growth Stages)

A. How Long Does An Oak Tree Take To Grow From An Acorn?


To find out, let us look at all the growth stages of an oak tree.


B. Germinating: Day 1 – 21

If it is white oak, you can plant the acorn right away. However, red oaks types need a little preparation for better growth. Roll oak seeds in paper towels or tissues. Mist or drop water on the towel or tissue so it can absorb moisture.


Create a somewhat damp atmosphere for the oak tree seed to germinate, but not so moist that the paper towel droops.


Refrigerate the towel for 1-2 months in a ziplock bag.


Seeds might rot if they are exposed to too much dampness. Around the 6-week point, check on the progress of your oak seed. Cracks appearing on the kept seed are a good sign.


C. Planting: Day 30

Planting containers are required for the acorns. Pick the healthiest acorns you can find from your stash. Using potting soil, fill the pot to the brim with 1 gallon of water.


In order to find, how long does it take an oak tree to grow, remember that the container needs to have both pores and a tray in order for the water to be able to flow through it.


Your oak tree seedlings will be mold-free if you do this. A larger pot is necessary because the roots of an oak tree develop so quickly that they need more room to spread.


D. Sowing: Month 1 – 6

It is possible to sow a white oak tree type acorns immediately after harvesting, while red oak acorns need a period of hibernation before they can thrive.


However, both can be planted immediately, just remember not to panic because red oaks don’t sprout until spring, but white oaks sprout within a few weeks of planting, this is the sole major difference.


E. Sapling: Month 6 – Year 1

The stage at which your tree is classified as a sapling is when it has reached a height of three feet. So, how long do oak trees take to grow to be called a sapling? Know that Oak trees might take anything from a few months to several years to complete this process.


Saplings require far less effort than little acorns. It can be plagued by illness, pests, and browsing. Due to their early age and lack of maturity, oak saplings are more vulnerable to these threats than a mature oak tree would be.


F. Transplanting: Year 1 – Year 5

It’s time to shift your oak saplings from a pot to the ground. Because you don’t intend for them to be eaten by animals, you’ll also need to put cages around them. Until the saplings reach a height of five feet, keep them well-protected. Water them frequently during the first year.


Oak trees should be easy to transplant during the first year after planting. The sooner you get started, the better off you’ll be. You risk stunting your oak tree’s growth if you put off transplanting it until a later date.


You can either plant your acorn at the location where you wish the tree to remain or somewhere more suitable. After that, sit back and look at how long do oak trees take to grow.


There is a five-year window in which you’ll need to keep an eye on your tree. Deer can be kept at bay with tree guards or wraps. In order to keep deer and squirrels away from your sapling, utilize aromas and fragrances that they don’t like or don’t recognize.


G. Maturity: Year 5 – Year 50

After five years, oak trees are generally safe to prune. You can take a deep breath, relax, and watch this tree develop from afar.


Oak trees mature at roughly 50-60 years of age, but this varies depending on the species of the oak tree. When your oak tree begins to produce its own acorns, which you can see in the summer, you know it’s mature.


It’s possible that your oak tree has matured to this degree. Some oak trees will live for decades or even centuries. Yes, you read it right! That’s how long does it take an oak tree to grow and survive effortlessly on this planet.


How Fast Does An Oak Tree Grow Annually?

Annually oak trees can grow between one to three feet over the course of their whole life.


The first ten to fifteen years are the most productive for their growth. When they are young, oak trees have the potential to quickly gain between two and three feet in height each year.


Oak trees are popularly chosen for usage as street trees due to their long lifespan and resistance to air pollution.


How Long Do Oak Trees Take To Grow And Achieve Maturity?

An average Oak tree, after 30 years, will have both a maturely decent height and a larger diameter. These changes will take place simultaneously.


The question of how long they take to grow, however, is contingent on the aforementioned four aspects that we discussed earlier: the species, the climate, the water, and the nutrients in the soil.


However, over many years of sustained sluggish growth, one can eventually attain full maturity. When it has reached its full maturity, an oak tree will grow to have a canopy spread of approximately 45 to 50 feet.


Factors That Affect How Long Does It Take To Grow An Oak Tree

According to studies, there are 600 Oak species. These species differ greatly. As a result, a given tree’s entire maturity is affected by this difference.


A. Soil conditions

Some of the unfavorable aspects of the soil that can affect the rate of growth of oak trees are that the soil is poorly graded, it is dry, and it lacks cohesiveness.


B. Pests & disease

Pests and disease can have a negative impact on a plant’s growth rate. Scale, an oak bug infestation, for example, frequently causes growth to be stunted.


C. Weather conditions

Oak trees may be put at risk by heavy rain, which can saturate the soil and reduce the amount of oxygen available to the roots.


Related: Types of Oak Leaves


How To Speed Up Oak Trees Growth Rate


A. Soil

Choosing the right soil for an oak tree is critical. Ideally, the soil is loamy and drains nicely. Additional considerations include the removal of rocks and clay from the area.


The best soil for oak trees is one that has a lot of humus, so keep that in mind when making your selection. Because of the humus, the roots will flourish. Roots can’t obtain enough oxygen if you don’t have enough humus.


There should be no metal oxide in the soil. It should have an appropriate but not excessive nutrient supply and be free from minimal plant pathogens. Check out how to fertilize oak trees here.


B. Watering

You should be aware of the amount of water that your oak tree requires.  You can’t grow an oak tree in a dry area since it needs water to thrive. On a hot, bright day, you may need to water your oak tree more than normal.


On the other side, if you are going to plant an oak tree in a more northern climate, it may not require as much watering as it would in a warmer climate. Oak trees can also be planted in rain gardens. As a result, you won’t have to worry as much about water.


C. Location

As long as you plant the oak at the right place, you don’t have to worry about how long does an oak tree take to grow. This is because you won’t have to shift it later. It’s best to plant an oak tree in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight and isn’t too cold.


After planting, it is imperative that the soil be kept dry for at least the first two years. Your oak tree will grow more quickly as it gets adequate light. So, make sure to plant it at the right location.


D. Temperature

The rate of growth is proportional to the temperature. They grow best around a temperature of 55°F.


E. Light

Let the oak trees have 5-6 hours of daily sunlight in order to thrive.


Variety Specific Growth Guide: White Oak | Red Oak | Pin Oak | Shumard Oak | Willow Oak | Nuttall Oak



Q. How long do oak trees live?

A. When provided with the right conditions to grow, oak trees can live for about 150-300 years. Some of them even survive for 1000 years and a few may die before reaching 100. It also depends on the species.


The oak tree’s slow demise begins as it nears the 1,000-year mark. This occurs when the tree’s bark becomes brittle and begins to fall off the branches.


You can learn about how to care for an oak tree here.


Q. How much does an oak tree grow in 5 years?

A. On average oaks grow for about a foot or two every year, so a 5-year-old oak tree should be around 5-10 feet in height depending upon the variety.


Q. How much space do oak trees need to grow?

A. The mature height of oaks, which may grow to a stunning 80 feet, necessitates that the trees be spaced accordingly. As a result, a minimum of 20 feet should separate them. The region directly beneath the tree, including the area included within the drain pipe, is the most crucial one to keep free of obstructions.


At least four blocks out from the root of the sapling, an oak tree must have a 1 x 1 column of unrestricted area to develop.


As long as the tree’s roots and trunk are protected from all angles, oaks can thrive. Tree seedlings and other small plants have little effect on their rapid growth.


To Sum Up…

With this guide, hope you now have a timeline in mind of how long does it take to grow oak trees. It takes a year for the seedling to become a healthy sapling and the sapling takes around 5-50 years to grow fully as a tree. The age of 70 is approximately where it reaches a mature size and does not grow much beyond it.


In light of the fact that an oak tree provides shade, aesthetic value, a safe haven for birds, it is a great option for parks and big backyards.