Height: To 60 feet in ideal growing conditions; usually less than 10 feet tall.
Fall Foliage: Variable; unremarkable brown to bright red.
Range: Only found in the northern reaches of Alabama and Georgia, as well as small parts of North Carolina.
Typical Habitat: Naturally growing specimens are almost always found on rock outcrops or the immediate vicinity. However, it will grow in a variety of cultivated situations.
The Georgia Oak: Small and Specialized
The Georgia oak is a really neat little “tree.” First discovered at Stone Mountain, Georgia, the species was later found to occur on scattered granite outcrops along a band stretching from north Alabama to portions of North Carolina.
It does reach proper tree-like proportions when cultivated or found in excellent growing sites with deep soil. Nevertheless, the majority of individuals are small shrubs, rarely higher than 6 feet or so. They grow in dense little thickets in some places; others spring up alone from rock cracks.
Little is known about the specie’s ecology, but it likely feeds squirrels and other acorn-eating species, as well as various moths and other insects.
Georgia Oak Identification: Tips & Tricks
The leaves of Georgia oak are relatively distinctive from most other red oaks, though it’s difficult to articulate exactly how. They generally have five to seven lobes (occasionally three) and bear bristle tips. The combination of geography, habitat, size and growth habit will likely allow you to be reasonably sure.
However, like most of the other will-drive-you-insane oaks, Georgia oaks hybridize with at least one other species –water oaks (Quercus nigra) and possibly others.
The Georgia Oak: Additional Information
Unfortunately, information about the Georgia oak isn’t in especially abundant supply. But these are a few of the best places to learn a bit more about these cool little trees.
- International Oak Society: Unsurprisingly, one of the best resources on the species. Lots of photographs and first-hand notes about the ecology.
- American Forests: Primarily a record of the Champion Georgia Oak in its namesake state. Check out the page, but just because you’re wondering, the tree is 65 feet tall.
- Comparing Genetic Diversity in Three Threatened Oaks: Interesting 2021 study in which Georgia oaks were studied.