Maple vs Oak Tree: What are the Differences

Trees like oaks and maples. What images do these phrases conjure up for you? Maybe it’s the acorns that squirrels adore tossing at them or the sticky syrup that tastes well with a pancake.

Although the stature and foliage of oak and maple trees may appear to be fairly similar, there are significant distinctions between the two.

Deciduous trees, oaks, and maples lose their leaves in the fall and begin to sprout new ones in the early spring.

Oak and maple trees can typically be identified by their leaves. Red oak trees’ leaf tips tend to be more pointed than those of white oak trees, which often have rounder tips. Veins, pinnate structure, and three separate leaves combine to form one huge leaf on maple trees.

In the debate of maple vs oak tree, is one tree therefore superior to the other? Will you regret choosing maples over oaks, or vice versa? In actuality, either option might be ideal for you.

In addition, depending on your requirements and expectations, one may prove to be superior to the other. We’re here to provide you with information that will assist you to draw a conclusion. Come on then!

What is a Maple tree?

Any of the roughly 200 species that make up the huge genus of shrubs and trees known as maples (Acer) are found throughout the North Temperate Zone, with China having the highest concentration. One of the most significant groupings of ornamentals for lawn planting is the group of maple trees.

Growing maples is popular because of the shade they create and their stunning fall foliage. They could have a low, mounded shape, a wide-spreading, round-headed shape, or a narrow, columnar shape.

All regions of South Carolina are suitable for the red maple (Acer rubrum), the Japanese maple (A. palmatum), the southern sugar maple (A. barbatum), and the chalkbark maple (A. leucoderme). Generally speaking, the Coastal Plains is not a good place for sugar maple (Acer saccharum), amur maple (Acer ginnala), or paperbark maple (Acer griseum).

What is an Oak Tree?

An oak tree is a type of plant that can live up to a thousand years and reach a height of 40 meters. They are revered in many cultures as representations of power and wisdom. There are about 500 different species of oak trees on the earth, which constitute a type of plant.

They can live for more than a thousand years, however, they typically only reach the age of 200. The oak tree ecosystem that surrounds them is created by oak woodlands because they support more living organisms than any other native British tree.

Oak wood is among of the strongest and longest-lasting on the planet. It has been employed in the building for a very long time and is still in use now. Certain nations and organizations also utilize it as a symbol, usually denoting strength or wisdom.

This includes Ireland, whose national tree is the sessile oak. The sessile oak and the common oak are the two varieties of oak trees that are native to Ireland. These two trees are not the same height overall.

Compared to maples, oaks often have considerably rougher, gnarlier bark. A maple’s bark is much smoother and more appealing to the eye than an oak’s, which has very thick, rough bark with large crevices running vertically along the trunk. The foliage is another indication that oak is nearby.

Oak leaves often have a lengthy, consistent breadth for the majority of their length. The leaves of oak often have a thick, sturdy stem and a rich green color.

The nearly wooden veins that traverse the length of the leaf can be seen when held up to a light source. They have a leather-like feel and are tough to rip.

The base of maple leaves is large, and they feature delicate, horizontal offshoots. Compared to oak foliage, their stems and leaves seem much softer to the touch and are far more easily torn.

An oak tree’s branches are twisted and frequently appear to have undergone severe maltreatment. Maples often experience steady, planned growth.

Examining the seeds is the easiest way to distinguish between oaks and maples.

For reproduction, oaks produce acorns. Squirrels frequently gather acorns for their high-energy diet and build their nests in oak trees.

Maple trees produce seed pods, which are frequently referred to as “helicopters” due to the way they appear as they fall to the ground in the fall.

The diameter of an old oak’s trunk is typically so large that an ordinary adult’s arms cannot fit around it. Oaks frequently have the appearance of multiple trees sprouting from one set of roots.

Many of them have huge caverns bored into them and survive even under conditions that would cause many other tree species to perish.

One of the tallest trees in the forest, oaks are capable of growing to heights of up to 100 feet.

Wine and whiskey producers notably benefit from the usage of oak wood. Chardonnays and sauvignon blancs can take on the aroma of the oak barrels in which they are matured.

8 Differences Between Maples and Oaks Tree

Read about the inherent distinctions between the two trees to discover how to distinguish between oak and maple trees.

S/No.QueriesMaple TreeOak Tree
1FamilyThe maple tree is part of the Acer family.The oak tree belongs to the Quercus family.
2Difference in Hardnessmaple’s bark is considerably harder than oak’sThough the bark of a maple tree is harder than that of an oak, the bark of oak is more stable than that of maple if you’re utilizing it for furniture that needs thinly sliced sheets of the material. They could be things like furniture formica sheets or floors.
3Difference in SizeThe average height of a maple tree is between 10 and 45 meters, or 35 and 150 feet.
The growth of other maple tree subspecies is typically significantly slower.
A maple tree can occasionally only reach a height of 10 meters. Even with all the small trunks springing out at ground level, it can appear to be a shrub. 
Some species of maple are shrubs, thus their mature heights can reach as low as 8 feet.
These tiny maple trees can grow in pots due to their small size, even if only for the first few years of their lives.
While larger oak trees can reach heights of 30 meters (100 feet), smaller oak trees can only reach heights of 6 to 9 meters (20 to 30 feet).
Oak trees are renowned for something different, whilst maple trees are known for having the widest range of growth.
Oak trees have significantly increased in width in addition to height. The tree will likely spread out from its core, from the roots to the uppermost limb.
4Variations in leavesThe leaves of a maple tree, on the other hand, are pinnate, made up of three smaller leaves that come together to form the larger leaf we can see.
Individual leaves are curved but unevenly so; they resemble but are not the same as white oak leaves.
These stiff maple leaves have lobes that resemble the spaces between a person’s fingers.
These are typical of a hard maple leaf because they are circular, and spaced considerably apart but not too far apart.
The lobes of a soft maple leaf will be shaped more like a “V” shape than a ā€œUā€ because of the leaf’s overall sharper edges.
Red oak leaves have sharp points, while white oak leaves frequently have rounded tips.
Similar to this, a white oak’s lobe is spherical and has no bristles sticking out of the tip.
This suggests that the outer edge serrations of the white oak leaf are similarly rounded.
Red oak leaves do, in fact, have bristled at the apex of their pointed lobes.
Since it has a larger variety of leaf forms than its cousin, this oak is more challenging to identify.
Red oak leaves might have rounded, smoothly serrated margins or they can have rougher, sharper margins.
5Leaf veins or petiolesMaple trees have distinctive petioles.Unlike maple trees, oaks do not have distinctive petioles.
6Bark ShadeHard Maple’s trunk and branches frequently have a paler and more even color. Contrarily, soft maple frequently has a darker hue with overtones of brown, red, and occasionally even gray.Older oak trees exhibit a change in bark color, whilst younger oak trees appear silvery brown. Obviously, it depends on the species, but some varieties of white oak can have light gray bark. On the other hand, red oak varieties may seem exceedingly dark, almost black.
7Bark TextureThe bark of a young red maple may be smooth and unbroken as compared to the coarser and more fractured bark of, say, a northern red oak.
Most of the time, maple trees’ bark would be comparatively smoother at the same age. The bark of maple trees is often intact and has considerably fewer cracks.
The scarlet oak would fall somewhere in the middle because it has some vertical cracks and seams in its normally smooth bark and appears more like a young red maple than a northern red oak.
Although the bark of young oak trees is frequently smooth, this may not always be the case for all varieties. As these trees mature, the bark will become more and more shattered, with deep ridges running down the bark.
8UsesBecause of their wide variety, the utilization of maples depends on the species. Maple trees are frequently used for patio trees, hedge and border accents, screening or aesthetic purposes, and container growth. When maple trees are tapped for syrup-making sap, their trunks also serve as a commercial resource.Shade trees, street or municipal trees, and focus examples on expansive grounds like public parks are among the uses for oak trees. Little species of maples work well as trees for tiny yards instead of oak species.

Do maple trees have acorns?

No. But, the seeds of oak trees are called acorns. Acorns do not grow on maple trees. A fruit called a samara, which is produced by maple trees contains the tree’s seeds.


As we have seen from our article, maple trees, and oak trees are part of a big family of tall trees. Oaks have acorns while maples don’t have acorns. Both are very useful to man whilst providing aesthetic and biological uses. This calls for more attention given to the planting of trees than the felling down of trees.

So, let’s plant more trees. If you are confused about how to go about that, you can check one of our articles on how to plant trees.


A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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