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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Quercus nigra L.
Synonym(s): Quercus microcarya, Quercus nigra var. heterophylla
USDA Symbol: QUNI
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Water oak is a conical to round-topped tree, 50-100 ft. tall, with thick, leathery, leaves that are semi-evergreen in the warmer parts of its range. The shiny, dark-green leaves are wedge-shaped and may have lobes at the tips. Foliage becomes yellow in fall. Tree with conical or rounded crown of slender branches, and fine textured foliage of small leaves.
A handsome, rapidly growing shade tree for moist soils in the Southeast; however, Water Oak is short-lived.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
, VA Native Distribution: FL
to e. TX,
n. to NJ
& s. MO Native Habitat:
Moist forests; waterways
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
High Light Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Wet CaCO3 Tolerance:
None Cold Tolerant:
Deep, moist, poorly drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based. Conditions Comments:
Considered a weed tree
in some areas, but used effectively as a shade and street tree
elsewhere. More weak-wooded and susceptible to wind and ice damage than most oaks. Older trees are susceptible to rot. Susceptibe to oak wilt, often with fatal consequences. Pine-oak rusts and leaf blister are two leaf ailments. Fast-growing.
Fast growing, Easily transplanted, Shade tree Use Wildlife:
Fruit-mammals, Fruit-birds, Nesting site, Substrate-insectivorous birds. Cover. Attracts:
Birds , Butterflies Larval Host:
Horaces Duskywing, White M hairstreak, Northern hairstreak.
Oaks are most often propagated from seed. No pretreatment is necessary. Plant immediately – outdoors or in deep containers to accomodate long initial taproot. Many oaks require cold temperatures to initiate shoot
development. Protect outdoor beds with Seed Collection:
Best quality acorns are picked or shaken from the tree. Collect when color has changed to brown. Best if sown immediately as acorns lose viability quickly in storage. Short-term storage in moist, shaded saw dust or sand. Acorns to be sown immediately can be soaked in hot water for 15 min. to prevent weevil infestation. Stored seed should be fumigated with methyl bromide. Seed Treatment:
Not Available Commercially Avail:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2008-05-22
Research By: TWC Staff