Feature species: swamp white oak

Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

Scientific name: Quercus bicolor

Native to: northeastern quarter of the U.S. (including southern Wisconsin)

Mature Height*: 50-60+’

Spread*: 50-60’

Form: broad, wide-spreading

Growth Rate*: slow to moderate; 12”-18” per year

Foliage: 5”-6”; glossy green above, white below; leathery with shallow, irregular lobes; leaves often persist into winter

Fall Color: yellow-brown to orange-brown

Flowers: clusters of stem-like 3”-4” catkins; blooms late May through June

Fruit: 1” paired acorns on slender stalks up to 4” long

Bark: interesting; young bark curls back in ragged, pappery scales revealing light greenish-gray inner bark; becomes darker gray-brown, thick, and scaly with age

Site Requirements: full sun; prefers acidic soil; withstands wide range of soil texture and moisture content; moderate salt tolerance

Hardiness zone: 4a

Insect & Disease Problems: oak wilt (but less susceptible than red, black, and northern pin oak), gypsy moth, anthracnose

Suggested Applications: parks, lawns, boulevards where space is ample

Limitations: becomes chlorotic in very high pH soil

Comments: although easier to transplant than most oaks, success is best achieved by transplanting in spring

*Urban tree size and growth rate vary considerably and are strongly controlled by site conditions.

T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

(This is an updated version of an article written by retired DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator Cindy Casey for the urban forestry newsletter in 1993.)

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