Most Awesomest White Oak Treehouse Tree Ever!

I drive by this tree often, and I have always admired it. For years, I thought that I would take some artsy photos of it and hang them on my wall. I wasn’t sure how to handle the houses in the background (besides photoshop), so I never did it. The other day it was very foggy in the morning, which made the day seem more like England than Missouri, and it just felt like it was time to take some photos. The fog was getting thinner when I started shooting and what was there really added nothing to the event, but I went ahead anyway. I expect I will be back again under different lighting conditions and maybe at different times of the year.

This white oak is right next to a large four-lane road in a back yard. It is easy to see, but not super obvious,since it is in a small opening with trees on both sides. My attention was first attracted by the shape of the base, which is unusually tapered, especially for a white oak. White oaks get big, but they usually have much less taper in the base. Trees that grow in the woods specifically, are much more consistent in diameter, while his one, which grew in the open, flares out like crazy. It is such an unusual shape that I had to drive by several times before I agreed with myself that it was a white oak. This is an old tree, and I think that wide base has served it well.

While the base is uncharacteristically white oak, the top is textbook. The branches are big and crooked and there aren’t a lot of them. It looks creepy, like it should be in front of a haunted house (where any self-respecting white oak would be found). I can’t help but feel like the tree is just going to reach out and grab me.


While I usually picture myself cutting down trees or making them into lumber or a project, this one I only envision standing. I look at it, and besides the fact that I wouldn’t know where to start, I just don’t see cutting it up. I think about moving it to my backyard, so I can build a treehouse on that giant first branch. Then, I think about getting a new house with a bigger back yard, so it will actually fit. After I settle in to my new house I would put up a swing on the other low branch. Then, of course, I would enjoy a fresh pot of honey from the happy little beehive that resides in the nubby almost-healed-over branch right outside the tree house (directly above my head in the photo below).

And, after I finished my pot of honey, I would think to myself, “This is the most awesomest treehouse tree ever!” (even if it has houses in the background and isn’t in my yard).


This tree is even bigger than it looks like from the road (I am not a tiny person).

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About wunderwoods

Hi! My name is Scott Wunder and I am the owner of WunderWoods Custom Woodworking. We build wine cellars, built-ins and furniture from local woods, here in St. Louis, MO. Recently, I finished a three-year term as the President of the St. Louis Woodworkers Guild, which had me writing a monthly article for our newsletter. I love to write, especially about wood, and found that I still had more to say. Every day I run into something wood related that I realize some of my customers don't know and this seems like a great forum for sharing what I have learned (instead of telling the same story to each person). The main thing to remember is that I try to keep it light and as my wife always reminds people that have just met me, "He is joking."

3 responses to “Most Awesomest White Oak Treehouse Tree Ever!”

  1. Doug Houser says :

    That is a very cool tree. That first branch is a pretty substantial tree by itself. I know we’ve got a lot of them but white oaks are probably my favorite overall tree. Must be those rays. Thanks for this post.

  2. Wes says :

    It might be a swamp chestnut oak, or a swamp white oak, you’d have to look at the leaves, but you are right in that it is in the white oak family. The ones I mentioned often seal off their old branch stubs with those big knobs, while white oaks, quercus alba, do less so. These are the oldest trees in my woods, usually living to 250 years if allowed by weather, bugs and humans.
    If you are inspired to build a treehouse, check out a specially-designed bolt called the “Garnier limb” invented by Micheal Garnier in Oregon, it solves several problems with treehouse building. I went to visit this guy a couple of years ago, he runs a little resort (the “Treesort”) that is all treehouses, it looks like that part of the game Myst with suspension bridges connecting multiple treehouses. It’s a stepped-diameter bolt that spreads the stress of weight across a larger area, and allows for tree growth. I find it criminal how readily people bang nails into trees, and as a sawyer I’m sure you do too.
    Someday we’ll build a really cool fort!

    • wunderwoods says :

      That tree is actually very close to your house. If you go out your front door and keep walking across Shakelford, I think you will run right in to it. It is across from Trinity church.

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