Quercus bicolor – Swamp White Oak

Quercus bicolor - Swamp White Oak

COMMON NAME:  Swamp White Oak, sometimes just White Oak  

SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Quercus  from the Latin for oak.  Bicolor refers to the contrasting color of the upper and lower sides of leaves.

FLOWER:  This oak has a drooping catkin of male flowers are the end of last year’s twig growth.  The female flowers form in the axil where a new leaf will grow.  

SIZE:  Height may reach 50 – 60 ft and spread about 50 – 60 ft.  It will grow 1-2 ft. per year .

BEHAVIOR:   Swamp white oak is value for its hardiness and durability.  A tree may last 300 or more years. 

SITE REQUIREMENTS:  Full sun in moist to wet deep acidic soils.  

NATURAL RANGE: Most of the US east of Nebraska and south to North Carolina where there are moist woods, bottomlands and streams.  Also eastern Canada.  

SPECIAL FEATURES:   Leaves have rounded lobes and are just slightly triangular towards the stem.  The upper side is a shiny dark green while the under side is much lighter with dense fine hairs.  This is the origin of the “bicolor” name.  Mature leaves will lose most of their leaves in late autumn.  Leaves turn a yellow to rusty brown.  It is typical to have a large crop of acorns every 3-5 years. 

SUGGESTED CARE:   Be sure to choose a site that has plenty of surrounding space, maybe 30 feet or more and where there will be adequate moisture.  Trees need to have a deep hole prepared.