Throughout the core of its range this is usually the most frequently encountered oak from Section Quercus (White Oaks). When working through a tree ID, start with the assumption that it is Q. alba and then work away from that towards a different ID if necessary.
The bark on very young trees is nondescript and hard to separate from a myriad of other trees. On older trees, ~20 feet tall or more, look for rough gray/white bark that is blocky towards the bottom becoming flaked with obvious vertical separation higher up. This is most obvious on larger trees.
Most often deeply lobed with 3-4 lobes per side. Green on both sides, the top being darker. Essentially hairless. Saplings and stressed trees can exhibit very blobby leaves where the sinuses are very shallow. Even then, the leaves will still almost have 3-4 sinuses, uncommonly 5. Saplings can be confused with Q bicolor but habitat and buds can be key.
Glabrous, gray/purple, often glaucous. Buds are small, 3-5mm and hairless.
Woods with rich well-drained soils. Commonly cultivated.”
- Gallformers Contributors: (2023) Gallformers ID Notes©