Heritage Edition no. 4 – Quercus palustris – Pin Oak 🌲

Heritage Banner - No 4

This week, we’d like to introduce the Quercus palustris – Pin Oak.  It’s a relatively common tree but don’t let its popularity put you off.  It’s popular for a reason.  In fact, it’s popular for many reasons.  We’ll get to them.  First, a little history on this Harrisons Heritage Tree…

Originally found in the swamps of North Carolina, north through the states bordering the Great Lakes, then on as far as Southern Ontario In Canada, the Pin Oak is a remarkable tree for a myriad of reasons. 

Native Americans would grind the acorns, using the powder as a thickening agent in soups or even their coffee.  Medicinally, the Pin Oak was  used to treat dysentery and diarrhoea, while the bark was even used as a bug repellent.  This is a tree sometimes otherwise known as the ‘Swamp Oak’ or ‘Spanish Swamp Oak’ 

QUERCUS palustris 400lt - January

Photo: Quercus palustris 400lt - approx 15 year old tree

Here in New Zealand, Quercus palustris has proven popular for its ability to adapt to the environment and is widely used in street and avenue plantings, where its ability to tolerate root-restricted areas such as car parks and courtyards is prized. 

Yet no tree is worth planting merely because it will survive and thrive.  There has to be another reason, which there is.  The Pin Oak has the most unusually attractive foliage.  It’s deeply cut, with these pointed lobes that give the impression the leaf is trying to reach out in multiple directions, away from the stem.  Bright green in spring, they turn to wonderful shades of coppery russet and fiery red in autumn.   These are the leaves that produce the most satisfying crunch underfoot as winter moves in. 

The neat pyramidal form of this deciduous marvel will reach 8 x 6.

QUERCUS palustris - Northlake, Wanaka - December

Photo: Quercus palustris 1000lt - Northlake, Wanaka installed 2020

As for that name…it’s thought it comes from the historical use of its hardwood to make pins for use in the construction of wooden buildings.  Yes, it really is a remarkable tree. 

We have options 200, 400 and 1000 litre options available, with heights varying up to 6.5 metres.

QUERCUS palustris 1000lt - February

Photo: Quercus palustris - Pin Oak, 1000lt - approx 18-20 year old tree

QUERCUS palustris - Millbrook, January

Avenue of Quercus palustris – Pin Oak, in Millbrook, Arrowtown

The Value of Privacy.  Heritage trees are rightly prized for their ability to create privacy for homeowners, yet their value goes beyond that.  It’s even (relatively) quantifiable in terms of dollars.  Just how much might surprise you.

Our latest blog explains more.  Read it here.

Harrys tip - Summer 2023