Connected Sustainability | Swamp White Oak
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Quercus bicolor Willd.

Swamp White Oak

ABOUT

How to Recognize Me

Swamp white oak is a native medium sized, deciduous tree with a broad, rounded crown and a short trunk. The tree is found in moist to swampy locations in bottomlands and lowlands, such as along streams and lakes, valleys, floodplains and at the edge of swamps. Leaves are dark, shiny green above and silvery white beneath, with 5-10 rounded lobes or blunt teeth along the margins. Fall color is yellow but sometimes reddish-purple. Insignificant flowers in separate male and female catkins in spring. Fruits are 1-2 acorns on peduncle up to 4” long that mature in early Autumn.

 

I Am Special to My Watershed

Quercus bicolor is easy to transplant due to lack of a taproot. It is used for shade, fuel wood and noise reduction. Its water retention ability helps to eliminate runoff and standing water in suburban and urban communities.

Swamp white oak is generally a durable and long-lived tree, sometimes living to 350 years, but is susceptible to a large number of potential diseases and insect pests, including anthracnose, canker, leaf spot,

rust, blight, galls, caterpillars, borers, leaf miners, oak lace bug and oak mite. Chlorosis, yellowing of the leaves while the veins remain green, often occurs when soils are not properly acidic.

 

I Am Special to Wildlife

Wildlife such as deer, ducks, geese and other others are attracted to this tree when acorns drop in Autumn. Swamp white oak produces a hard wood that is used for construction, cabinet making, boat building, railroad ties, fencing and cooperage.

I Hold a Special Place In History

The Iroquois used this oak to treat cholera and broken bones. Acorns are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out and can be deep fried or mixed in a soup. Finely chopped acorn meats can be added to bread dough and muffin batter. Native Americans used powdered acorns to thicken stew, and roasted, grounded acorns were used as a coffee substitute.

 

The Facts

  • Height: 50’-60’
  • Spread: 50’-60’
  • Sun: full sun
  • Soil: medium to wet; swampy, acidic
  • Bloom Time: April
  • Bloom Description: red or yellowish-green
  • Flower: separate male and female catkins
  • Fruit: acorns
  • Tolerate: wet soil, drought Suggested Use: shade tree, street tree, rain garden
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Noted Trees