Quercus palustris Pin Oak is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 18–22 m (59–72 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 1 m (3.3 ft) diameter. It has an 8–14 m (26–46 ft) spread. A 10-year-old tree grown in full sun will be about 8 m (26 ft) tall. Young trees have a straight, columnar trunk with smooth bark and a pyramidal canopy.
By the time the tree is 40 years old, it develops more rough bark with a loose, spreading canopy. This canopy is considered one of the most distinctive features of the pin oak: the upper branches point upwards, the middle branches are at right angles to the trunk, and the lower branches droop downwards.