How Tall Is a 10-Year-Old Oak Tree?

How Tall Is a 10-Year-Old Oak Tree

So as many of my long-term readers know, I finally moved into my own house this year. Now at the back of my garden was a pretty substantial oak tree. One worry I had was how big this tree would get, especially if its acorns were somehow fertilized and planted in the ground. A question I had then was, how tall is a 10-year-old oak tree? 

A 10-year-old oak tree will grow to 10 to 20 feet in height, with most oak trees averaging to around 14 feet in their first ten years, regardless of sub-species. Oak trees will typically mature at around 20 years, and growth will typically be reduced to about one additional foot per year. 

So, how tall can oak trees become? And what is the size of a 1, 5, 10, and 20-year oak tree? Keep reading to find out more!

Just a quick heads up, over the past three years of running Plantpaladin, hundreds of people have asked for product recommendations. As such, You can find my favorite indoor bonsai tree here (link takes you to Bonsaiboy), my favorite outdoor bonsai tree (link takes you to Bonsaiboy), or have a look at all the products I recommend here

How tall can oak trees become? 

Think of an oak tree, and no doubt, one of the first things that come to mind is a giant solid tree that can grow pretty high. 

With oak trees being one of the most widespread trees, you will likely live next to or directly own an oak tree. 

However, one of the crucial questions you need to know is precisely how tall oak trees can become. 

not just how tall is a 10 year old oak tree but how tall oak trees can become in general.

After all, if oak trees become too big, their roots and branches can start to impact fences, brickwork, and even surrounding trees. 

To get to the bottom of this, I got in touch with my local botanical gardens and surveyed five plant paladin readers who all own oak trees. 

To summarize: 

  • Most oak trees will reach between 50 to 70 feet in total height. 
  • Oak trees will typically grow between 1 and 3 feet per year, with oak trees’ growth slowing down substantially once it hits maturity at the 20-year mark. 
  • An oak tree will be around 5 to 10 feet tall in five years. 
  • Oak trees will grow to around 10 to 20 feet in ten years. 
  • 15-year-old oak trees can grow to 25 to 30 feet
  • 20-year-old oak trees can grow to 30 to 40 feet tall. 
  • 100-year-old oak trees will grow to between 50 and 70 feet. 
  • While most oak trees will not grow to over 100 feet tall, some oak trees, if grown in the right conditions, can reach this height. 
  • Oak species that grow the fastest and tallest include Nuttall Oak and California White Oak. 

Let’s explore this in more detail.

How Tall Is a 10-Year-Old Oak Tree - infographic

How Tall Is a 10-Year-Old Oak Tree?

A 10-year-old oak tree will reach an average height of 14 feet in about ten years. Faster-growing oak species such as Nuttal oak or California wild oak can grow to around 20 feet in their first year. Slower-growing oak species will only grow to around 10 feet in their first ten years. 

Now oak roots won’t grow that deep down, instead opting to grow out laterally. 

At this stage, maintaining an oak tree for a back garden should be straightforward as the height will not be so significant that it blocks light for nearby trees or causes damage to fences or other structures. 

How Tall Is a 5-Year-Old Oak Tree?

5-year-old oak trees are relatively juvenile, so you can expect your oak tree to only grow to 5 to 7 feet tall in its first five years. 

Most oak trees will only grow by about one foot per year, so one to one and a half feet of growth per year will typically be what you should expect if you grow your oak tree in the right conditions. (with plenty of sunlight, watering, and fertilizing during the summer months) 

Now some faster-growing Oak trees will grow by as much as three feet in their frist few years. However, this growth will typically soon level out after its first five years. 

How Tall Is a 12-Year-Old Oak Tree?

You’d expect to witness a large oak tree in your backyard in a little more than a decade passing. 

The truth is, 12 years for an oak tree is still young.

A 12-year-old oak tree can only grow around 10 to 15 feet. That said, an exact number would depend on the tree’s species. The red oak species can grow about 1.5 feet every year. Subsequently, a 12-year-old red oak tree can reach about 18 feet.

On the other hand, a bur oak tree grows about a foot or less per year. After 12 years of age, this oak tree can reach approximately 8 to 12 feet.

These growth rates assume that the trees are grown in adequate conditions with good weed and grass control.

How Tall Is a 20-Year-Old Oak Tree?

Twenty years later, an average oak tree’s size can reach an impressive height of up to 60 feet. Let’s consider a white oak tree. If its growth rate is around one to two feet annually, then after 20 years, you can expect to see a 20 to a 40-feet oak tree.

In terms of diameter, an oak tree’s width growth is relatively slow. As a northern hardwood, the tree species can take up to 7 to 12 years to grow an inch in diameter.

How Tall Is a 100-Year-Old Oak Tree?

After a century of living, a wise old oak tree can climb up to 100 feet.

Meanwhile, other oak trees can reach a shorter 70 feet, like the pin or northern red oak trees.

In terms of diameter, a 100 feet oak tree can reach around four feet. Other oak trees have thinner bark, measuring around 3.5 feet in diameter.

How Tall Can an Oak Tree Become?

Typically, oak trees can grow between 40 to 100 feet tall. Their height is usually affected by growth conditions as well as their species.

Now I appreciate everyone’s oak may be of different species, so to help summarize, check out the table below.

How Can You Tell How Tall Your Oak Tree Will Become?

You can usually tell how tall your oak tree will become from its species and surroundings. These two specifications are significant indicators.

Oak Tree Species

White, berry, or chestnut oak variations are ideal choices if you’re looking for a mighty tall oak tree. With heights growing over a hundred feet, this tree will likely provide your home with ample shade.

Other oak trees grow at smaller heights, such as red or pine-oak choices. These are more suitable if you have little backyard space.

Growth Conditions

The placement of an oak tree can be a helpful telltale sign of its future growth prospects. Generally, oak trees love basking in the sun. You can expect their growth to slow down or cease if their sunlight is compromised.

When it comes to watering, mature oak trees don’t need much help. They mainly require well-draining soil to avoid any root rot from bacterial growth. The latter can happen from overwatering the tree.

Once the soil is overwatered, it can cause waterlogging. In turn, the tree’s roots will barely receive any oxygen intake, resulting in their death.

Now, even if the oak tree does need watering, it’s usually every month. Besides, oak trees enjoy seasonal changes from dry summers to rainy winters. With these care needs in mind, your oak tree can grow to its mature expected size.

How Long Does It Take to Grow a Tall Oak Tree?

Oak trees are notably slow-growing. You can’t exactly sit in your backyard every day looking at your tree, expecting to see a significant growth spurt. Patience will be your friend during the tree’s growing years.

Aside from that, let’s assume that a tall oak tree is around 40 feet. In this case, it can take as long as 40 years for a tree to grow that long, specifically a white oak species.

On the other hand, other species, like the red oak, can reach 40 feet in a shorter 20 years.

The water oak tree can grow 40 feet in around 16 years for an even shorter growth time frame. Like the pin oak, a more medium-growing oak tree can take approximately 27 years to climb 40 feet high.

Can Oak Trees Grow Faster?

If you want to grow your oak trees faster, there may be some solutions.

These solutions mainly involve providing the best possible growth conditions for the oak tree. For instance, you’ll want to place the tree in a wide area with no sidewalks to give the roots more room to breathe.

Additionally, you need to look out for the tree’s soil requirements. A well-draining and acidic soil can provide you with the best results.

Another healthy practice that can assist the tree’s growth is pruning. During the initial 30-year growth of the tree, pruning is highly recommended during the summer months.

It’ll help train your tree to grow from one stem, making it stronger. Plus, you can cut off any disease-ridden parts of the tree to avoid spreading growth-stunting infections.

What Oak Species Will Grow the Tallest?

The tallest oak tree species are bur. A bur oak tree can reach mammoth heights of approximately 160 feet. For comparison, that’s taller than three school buses parallel parked. It’s also almost as tall as a blue whale.

Besides their height, a bur oak tree’s trunk thickness can reach a fat ten feet in diameter. These oak trees are adorned with large-sized leaves growing around six to ten inches.

Meanwhile, bur oak trees have medium-gray colored bark. Their trunks are filled with mazes of deep, narrow, and rough ridges.

You may also wonder, “Why is it called a bur tree?” Well, you can owe its name to its acorns. These little guys have fringy bristled cups that are distinctively burr-like.

What Is the Tallest Oak Tree in Existence?

The title of the tallest oak tree in existence can be given to the old Mingo oak tree. This white oak tree was speculated to be almost 600 years old. Its height grew to about 145 feet.

Nonetheless, officials cut down the tree in 1938 due to being exposed to fumes from a burning coal pile.

What Is the Oldest Oak Tree?

Many trees have outlived humans for years, but nothing can compare to the oldest oak tree. We’re talking about the 2,000-year-old Pechanga Great Oak planted in California.

Despite being one of the oldest oak trees, it’s not the tallest. It sits at around 100 feet tall with a circumference of over 20 feet.

What Is the Average Highest for an Oak Tree vs. Its Age

The overall average height of oak trees is around 50 to 70 feet. In terms of age, a 50 or 70 feet oak tree can range between 25 to 50 or 35 to 70 years old, respectively. Check out the table below for more information.

How Long Does It Take for an Oak Tree to Grow to Its Full Size?

Most oak tree species and subspecies reach maturity after 20 years. At this point, they will typically have reached a height of around 20 to 40 feet. After the 20-year mark, oak trees will enter the maturity stage. Their growth may stall to around 1 foot per year and max out at around 50 to 70 feet. 

An oak tree’s life cycle varies greatly depending on its species.

 Most oak trees may reach maturity after 20 to 30 years. One of the best determinants of an oak tree’s full maturity is when it starts to grow acorns.

What Climates Do Oak Trees Grow the Tallest?

An oak tree’s growth cycle usually starts around springtime and moves through summer. An oak tree’s hardness zone can range between seven to ten.

If you plan to plant an oak tree, consider where you’re located. For example, if you reside near the West Coast region, the best climate for your oak tree to grow tallest in is around fall.

On the other hand, if you’re down in the Southeastern area, then late winter or early spring is the ideal planting time.

How to Tell an Oak Tree’s Age by Its Size

Rather than cutting down the tree to find its age, you can use a different method by knowing its diameter.

Step 1: Measure the Oak Tree’s Circumference

First, you’ll need a measuring tape to estimate the circumference of the tree’s trunk. To do so, wrap the tape around the tree about 54 inches above the ground.

Step 2: Estimate the Tree’s Diameter

With the circumference at hand, you can use a formula to determine the trunk’s diameter. You have to divide the circumference in inches by pi or 3.14.

For instance, if a tree’s circumference measures 210 inches. Divide it by 3.14, which equals about 67 inches. As a result, the oak tree’s diameter would be around 5.6 feet.

Step 3: Estimate the Age

After getting the diameter in inches, you’ll multiply it by the oak tree’s growth factor. The growth factor differs based on the oak trees’ species.

Let’s assume you have a red oak with a 30-inch diameter. Its age would equal 120 years since you’ll multiply the 30 by 4.

Tips to Care for Your Oak Trees

Growing an oak tree is easier than it may seem. If you follow some of the tips mentioned below, you’ll have a healthy-growing tree that can span decades.

Make Sure There’s Enough Soil

Covering the bottom region with sufficient layers of soil is crucial to ensure a well-protected root system.

Nonetheless, the soil shouldn’t cover the area immediately under the trunk. Instead, keep a six-foot distance between the soil cover and the trunk region. That way, the roots won’t crawl their way around the trunk from too much smothering.

Use Fertilizer

Fertilizing your oak tree is suitable for promoting healthy and steady growth. That being so, repotted trees need to be fertilized after exposure to a new environment.

Regarding timing, growth seasons such as autumn, spring, or late summer are preferable.

The fertilizer’s ingredients can include nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Alternatively, you can opt for root stimulators if the roots have experienced damage.

Avoid Drilling

It may be tempting to add a swing to your oak tree. You might think about busting the nails and hammer for a quick drill. I advise against doing this and instead going for a rope-around installment to avoid drilling altogether and harming the tree branch’s growth.

Choose Correct Placement

Choosing where to plant your oak tree is a critical decision. Firstly, you want the tree to be at least 15 to 20 feet away from your home to give it enough space for its creeping branches to grow.

Aside from that, add some shrubbery or plants under the tree. In this case, it’s best to choose drought-tolerant and shallow-rooted plants that won’t require much watering, especially during the summer.

Plus, you’ll want to keep them a safe six to ten feet away from the tree. These plant varieties include yarrow, periwinkle, phlox, irises, and coral bells.

Why Grow Oak Trees?

Growing oak trees in your garden space will give you a picturesque view of the tree. It’ll also be home to multiple life forms that will benefit from the tree’s resources. It can give a home for birds, acorns for squirrels, and shelter to numerous kinds of insects and spiders.

Interestingly, around 897 species of caterpillars call oak trees home. On top of that, during rainy weather, water tends to run off in streams. With an oak tree in your yard, the roots can help filter the water.

In addition to sheltering a diverse range of wildlife, oak trees can also be a generational symbol. The tree can pass down to your grandchildren and live on for over a thousand years.

One of the simplest delights of owning an oak tree is getting shade. You can cozy up under the tree with a good book in the morning sun.

How tall is the oldest oak tree in the world? 

One of the oldest oak trees in the world is around 2,000 years old. This Pechanga Great Oak tree spans up to 100 feet. It’s practically a forest of its own. 

How tall are oak bonsai trees?

So now we know how tall is a 10-year-old oak tree what about oak bonsai?

One everyday use for oak trees that is proving more and more popular is transforming them into bonsai trees. 

Now, as bonsai are just regular trees grown in pots and trimmed to become the miniaturized version of the fully grown tree, bonsai oak trees will not grow as tall as regular oak trees. 

However, one of the benefits of bonsai is that you can determine how tall you want your oak tree to become. 

You see, bonsai trees are often grown into various sizes and kept to that size by regular trimming and pruning. 

Bonsai oak trees will then range in height depending on their size classification. Fingertip-sized bonsai oak trees will be around 1 to 3 inches. 

More commonplace bonsai sizes are one-hand to two-hand bonsai, which will grow the oak bonsai to 6 to 18 inches. 

Finally, the largest size of bonsai is imperial bonsai which grows to around 2 meters tall. 

As oak trees are slow growing, they will take even longer to grow than they would in the will if you transform them into bonsai trees. 

As such, expect only between 1 to 5 inches of new height every year if grown unchecked. 

Survey results

So rather than just doing my research about how tall is a 10-year-old oak tree I wanted to do things a little differently.

I undertook a brief survey of 5 plant paladin readers who own oak trees and asked them how tall their oak trees are.

To summarize: 

How Tall Is a 10-Year-Old Oak Tree - survey results

To Conclude

How tall is a 10-year-old oak tree? This mostly depends on each oak tree’s species’ growth rate. In short, your decade-old oak tree may reach around 10 to 20 feet.

Some slow growers take their sweet time and grow about a foot each year, like the white oak. In contrast, a fast-growing option like the black oak variation can size up around two to three feet per year.

All in all, oak trees need lots of patience on your end. Since they age slowly, we’d count them as more of a lifetime investment.

Hopefully, however, you at least know how tall is a 10-year-old oak tree!

My top picks for the gear you will need!

So like I mentioned earlier, over the past three years of running PlantPaladin, hundreds of people have asked me for my recommendations on the best bonsai gear on the market. 

Having spent thousands of dollars on bonsai items these past few years and tested at least 100 bonsai-specific products, I’ve listed my favorite products below – All of which I highly recommend and think you can get great value. 

They can purchase directly by clicking the link to take them to Amazon. 

Bonsai Tool Set: One of the significant challenges I’ve had is finding a toolset that was not only durable but didn’t break the bank. SOLIGT has recently developed a fantastic bonsai tool set that covers all the tools you need to trim, prune, and repot your trees. – You can grab it here

Complete Bonsai Set: Many of you will want to grow your bonsai trees entirely from scratch, but finding the varicose seeds, pots, and other items in one place can be challenging. Leaves and Sole then have created a complete bonsai set that I’ve personally used that ticks all the boxes. You can grab it here

Bonsai wire: The number of times I’ve run out of wire for my bonsai or purchased cheap bonsai wire that doesn’t do the job is embarrassing for me to admit. After a lot of trial and error, I found that using Hotop’s aluminum bonsai wire is one of the best options on the market. This can easily be used for both indoor and outdoor bonsai. You can grab it here.

This post was written by Fehed Nicass, who has been passionate about bonsai for over 3 years. He currently resides in the UK and works in sales.

Fehed Nicass

Fehed Nicass has been passionate about all things bonsai and botany focused for the past 3 years. What started out as a hobby has developed as a passion and he is now on a mission to teach and learn.

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