Post Oak

The Post Oak (Quercus stellata) is the most common tree species in North Texas. It thrives in dry, sandy soils and is particular to rocky high points. In the wild, the Post Oak is often found growing alongside Blackjack Oaks. The wood is known for its decay resistant qualities, making it an excellent choice for use as railroad ties and fence posts.

Common names: Post Oak, Iron Oak, Cross Oak

Post Oak in North Texas suburban landscape.
Photo: Krista White, 2021.

Tree Description

Canopy: dense, round

Leaf: Lobes form a cross shape, turning upward

Bark: Thick.

Flower: Blooms in spring, green

Fruit: Acorns up to 1 inch long, reddish-brown.

Height: 20 to 80 feet

Canopy spread: up to 80 feet

Trunk diameter: up to two feet or larger

Growth rate: slow; 12 to 24 inches per year

Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9

Reasons to Plant a Post Oak

Post Oaks are extremely drought tolerant, require little to no irrigation, and adapt well to poor soil. The species also produces acorns which provide food for small animals, birds and insects.


Post Oaks are best propagated from a seed (acorn). The USDA recommends sowing seeds “immediately upon harvest for best results.” Stored seeds have a reduced chance of germination.


Post Oaks require minimal care. It does not respond well to construction near its root system. Homeowners must take care to build pools, septic systems and buildings away from the roots, so that none are disturbed. The species thrives in dry, rocky soils that drain well. If a lawn is present over the root system, the homeowner must regulate irrigation with the Post Oak in mind. Too much water around the root system, on a regular basis, will cause the tree to struggle, eventually leading to death. Deadwood may be removed periodically, as needed.

Krista White

Krista White

Krista is a member of the marketing and education team at Tree Shepherds. A lifelong learner, she loves writing about anything from Hemingway to Quercus macrocarpa.