The Willow Oak grows in acidic, drought tolerant, loamy, moist, sandy, well drained, wet, clay soils.
The Willow Oak is most commonly and accurately described as "handsome." In its natural habitat it is a bottomland tree of the South and eastern coastal plains. It has been planted widely as a street tree from Washington, D.C., southward, growing rapidly under favorable conditions and living longer than many other species. Good crops of acorns are provided annually beginning when the tree is about 20 years old. A mature tree will yield up to two baskets of acorns in a season, making it a favorite food source for squirrels, deer and many kinds of birds.
A handsome oak with willow-like leaves. Foliage is light to bright green in summer and yellow, yellow-brown and russet in fall. Relatively fast-growing, it tolerates poorly drained soil. Prefers acid soil and full sun. Grows to 40'-60' with a 35' spread. (Zones 5-9)
Willow oak acorns are at the top of the food preference list for whitetail deer, squirrels, wild turkeys, quail and some songbirds. Wood ducks and mallards partake of the acorns when stands of willow oak trees are flooded.
Willow Oak trees are considered some of the most beautiful trees planted in Washington, D. C., a city known for its wonderful tree planting. The lumber has been utilized since pioneer days for interior paneling, newel posts, pulpits, pews, bar tops, wagon axles, stairs, railings, balustrades, bedsteads and flour barrels. The first scientific observation regarding Willow Oak trees was made in 1723.
Normal moisture requirement, but with some drought tolerance.
This tree's leaves resemble those of the Willows, from which it derives its name. They are spear-shaped, 2 to 5 inches long; a tiny bristle tips each leaf.
Brown, faded flower color. Not noteworthy.
The fruit is round, 1/2 inch long, attractive to wildlife.