Oak, Water Quercus nigra

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Zones 6 - 9 Zones 6 - 9
Hardiness Zones 6 - 9
The Water Oak can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the zone map. View Map
Ornamental Tree Ornamental Tree
Type of tree
Ornamental Trees, Shade Trees
50' - 80' High 50' - 80' High
Mature Height
The Water Oak grows to be 50' - 80' feet in height.
50' - 80' Spread 50' - 80' Spread
Mature Spread
The Water Oak has a spread of about 50' - 80' at full maturity.
Fast Growth Fast Growth
Growth Rate
This tree grows at a fast growth rate. More about this.
Full Sun Full Sun
This oak does well in full sun, partial shade.
Various Soils Various Soils
The Water Oak grows in acidic, drought tolerant, loamy, sandy, well drained, wet, wide range, clay soils.
Rounded Shape Rounded Shape
This oak has rounded, spreading or horizontal shape.

The Water Oak is a North American native with significant soil tolerance. It does not compete well and does not tolerate even light shade. Water oak is frequently used to restore bottomland hardwood forests in the Southeast on land that was previously cleared for agriculture or pine plantations.


A North American native, Water Oak is adapted to wet, swampy areas, such as along ponds and stream banks, but can also tolerate other well-drained sites and even heavy, compacted soils.

Wildlife Value

Water oak acorns are at the top of the food preference list for whitetail deer, squirrels, raccoons, pigs, wild turkeys, mallards, wood ducks, and quail. In wintertime, deer will browse the buds and young twigs.


The Water Oak has been used as a source of timber and fuel by people in the southern states since the 1600's. Many homes were built and heated by giant trees that sprouted hundreds of years before Columbus.


The Water Oak tolerates wet sites, but does best in well-drained areas that do not experience severe drought.


The Water Oak's leaves are green in summer, and they change to very attractive fall colors.

Flower Color

The blooms of the Water Oak are almost imperceptible.

Bloom Time

The Water Oak blooms in the spring.

Fruit Description

The Water Oak produces one-inch round acorns.