Shingle oak

Summer foliage of shingle oak.

Shingle oak is native to Illinois and to part of the Chicago region. This tree is not easily recognized as an oak due to an atypical, unlobed leaf. It is not used as commonly as other oak species, but would be valuable as a parkway tree.

This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

Botanical name:

Quercus imbricaria

All Common Names:

shingle oak, laurel oak, small-leaved oak

Family (English):

Beech

Family (Botanic):

Fagaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree

Foliage:

  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median,
  • Restricted sites

Landscape Uses:

  • Parkway/street,
  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height:

50-60 feet

Mature Width:

50-60 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Intolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • Messy fruit/plant parts

Season of Interest:

  • Early winter,
  • Mid winter,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall,
  • Late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Oval,
  • Pyramidal

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

Transplants Well:

  • Yes

Wildlife:

  • Browsers,
  • Game birds,
  • Game mammals,
  • Migrant birds,
  • Small mammals

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Although it has a taproot, shingle oak can be easier to transplant than some oaks.
Fairly salt tolerant.
Prune oaks in the dormant season to avoid attracting beetles that may carry oak wilt.

Disease, pests, and problems

Oak wilt is a potential disease problem.
Insect pests include scale and two-lined chestnut borer.
Galls caused by mites or insects are common, but not harmful.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria)
Acorn of shingle oak
photo: John Hagstrom

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 7

Bark color and texture 

Light gray; smooth when young, maturing into shallow furrows.

 

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves; oblong and unlobed, with one bristle at the tip of the leaf; up to 6 inches long.
Dark green in summer, changing to yellow-brown to russet  in fall.  Leaves persisting through the entire winter.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male flowers in dangling catkins; female flowers smaller and held close to the stem.  Not ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Acorns, 1/2 to 2/3 inch long topped with a thin cap enclosing the top 1/3 of the nut.

Location of Quercus imbricaria (Shingle oak) at the Arboretum