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Difference Between Oak and Maple

oakOak vs Maple

Oak and maple are two different trees. Though both belong to the hardwood category, there are quite a lot of differences between the two.

Oak belongs to the genus Quercus and Maple to the genus Acer. Maple is a very tight, white hardwood. The wood is sold in both qualities as hard and soft. The soft variety is used for the making of furniture and other things which requires being mould. And the hard variety of maple wood is used for the hard durable things like a butcher’s block. Oakwood is also hardwood but the color is reddish brown. But after the treatments, when being sold, the color of the wood is usually white. The Oakwood is used for making furniture, kitchen cabinets, and other decorative carved items.

On the Oakwood there are pores visible to the naked eye and this gives a grainy texture to the wood. The maple wood doesn’t have any such visible pores. So the items made of maple wood are smoother than the Oakwood products. There is considerable difference in shapes and sizes of the leaves of the two trees as well. The leaves of oak are arranged spirally and some varieties have serrated or smooth margined leaves. A maple leaf is more pointed.

The fruit of an oak tree is an acorn and contains a seed in it. The maple fruit is a samara. Most of the oak trees are evergreen and have flowers as well. The flowering season is the spring. The maple also has flowers and the late winter or early spring is the flowering season. Oak wood is highly resistant to fungal and insect attacks due to the high tannin content in the wood while, maple leaves are highly affected by fungal diseases.

Oak wood is used for flooring, furniture, and in the production of wines and brandies. The oak barrels are used for preserving the wines. There are many medicinal uses from the bark of the white oak. It is used by drying out the bark. Due to the high tannin content, the bark is used for tanning leather. The acorns from the tree are used to make acorn coffee or flour and the Japanese Oakwood is used for making professional drums.

Maple trees are used for ornamental purposes by creating the bonsais, making professional drums, syrup, smoking chips, and timber. Maple wood is used for making pool cue shafts, wooden baseball bats, and butcher’s blocks. The seeds are good for consumption as well. Maple is a good tone wood and hence, is used to make musical instruments.

1.Oak belongs to the genus Quercus and Maple belongs to the genus Acer.
2.Maple wood is white and Oakwood is reddish brown.
3.Oak fruit is the acorns and maple fruit is the samara.
4.The oak tree flowers in spring seasons, while the maple flowers in late winters or early summers.
5.Oak wood is highly resistant to fungal and insect attacks, while maple is very much susceptible to fungal infections.

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  1. I was woundering if you could send me photos or a link so I can try and learn the difference between maple and oak trees ? I live in New England, so a lot of the times,the leaves are to high up to examine. Is there a way to distinguish the difference from the bark going up the tree from the ground level ? I am VERY interested in this, I’m new to the woods,this is my first year and I am the only one who has any interest in the woods and unfortunately, didnt have a mentor like nost outdoors men. Any and all help you can direct/send me would be highly apprecieative ! Thank You, Brian Rose

  2. Note: the article is slightly incorrect. Many Maple trees DO flower in the spring – someone needs to adjust this if there is a way to do so.

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