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Oak, Willow Quercus phellos

Willow Oak - Quercus phellos
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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)

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Zones 5 - 9 Zones 5 - 9
Hardiness Zones 5 - 9
The Willow Oak can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. View Map
Ornamental Tree Ornamental Tree
Type of tree
Ornamental Trees, Shade Trees
40' - 60' High 40' - 60' High
Mature Height
The Willow Oak grows to be 40' - 60' feet in height.
30' - 40' Spread 30' - 40' Spread
Mature Spread
The Willow Oak has a spread of about 30' - 40' at full maturity.
Medium Growth Medium Growth
Growth Rate
This tree grows at a medium growth rate. More about this.
Full Sun Full Sun
Sun
This oak does well in full sun.
Various Soils Various Soils
Soil
The Willow Oak grows in acidic, drought tolerant, loamy, moist, sandy, well drained, wet, clay soils.
Pyramidal Shape Pyramidal Shape
Shape
This oak has pyramidal, rounded shape.
Attributes

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.

Description

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)

Wildlife Value

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.

History/Lore/Use

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.

Moisture

Normal moisture requirement, but with some drought tolerance.

Leaves

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.

Flower Color

Brown, faded flower color. Not noteworthy.

Bloom Time

April-May

Fruit Description

The fruit is round, 1/2 inch long, attractive to wildlife.