Northern pin oak is one of Minnesota’s six native oak species and is best known as a landscape tree and source of hard, durable wood. Leaves are simple, alternate, and 3-5 inches long. They have 5-7 deep lobes with sharp points, and deep, rounded sinuses. Each lobe ends with several small teeth. The leaves are generally bright green, but can turn deep red in the fall. Male and female flowers develop as drooping catkins, with female flowers developing into acorns about ½” long. Bark is dark gray and smooth-ish, with deep ridges on older branches.
Northern pin oak has heavy wood and is often used for furniture, flooring, posts, or railroad ties. It is also a popular landscape tree due to its fall color, though some plants turn a less interesting brown in the fall. The species is part of the Red Oak group, or the section of the Quercus genus known as Sect. Lobatae.
Oak wilt is a major issue for northern pin oak, as members of the red oak group are most susceptible. See below for more information about oak wilt.
Photo Credit: David J. Stang CC By SA 4.0