The pin oak is one of the most popular landscaping trees in the eastern United States. It is naturally a wetlands trees, and has developed a shallow, fibrous root system, making it easy to transplant -- unlike many oaks, which have a taproot and are difficult to transplant. However, because the tree is adapted for wet, acid soils, it may suffer a condition called iron chlorosis, in which the foliage yellows, when planted in drier, alkaline, and iron-poor soils.
The specific name, palustris, means "of swamps".
The pin oak is strongly pyramidal when young, with many smaller branches radiating out from a central leader. When older, some upper branches become quite large and the central leader is lost, while lower branches gradually die out. The name "pin" is due to the many small, slender twigs. The pin oak is not a long-lived tree, usually living only 90 to 120 years. However, a row of mature trees along a street present an impressive sight.
The wood is generally marketed as red oak, but is of significantly inferior quality, being somewhat weaker, often with many small knots.