Swamp white oak is a striking tree with attractive peeling bark, especially on young trees. The lustrous, lobed leaves have a two-tone appearance, dark green on top with a silvery-white underside. Fall color is an orange-gold to yellow in mid-autumn. An excellent shade tree for any landscape.
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.
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median,
- Restricted sites
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Moderately Tolerant
- Messy fruit/plant parts
- Fall color
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
- Game birds,
- Game mammals,
- Migrant birds,
- Small mammals
Tree & Plant Care
One of the easiest oaks to transplant and more tolerant of poor drainage than other oaks.
Avoid high pH soils or plants may develop chlorotic (yellowing ) leaves.
Tolerant of salt, drought and heat.
Prune oaks in the dormant season to avoid attracting beetles that may carry oak wilt.
Disease, pests, and problems
Anthracnose, occasional powdery mildew, chlorois in high pH soils, and insect galls.
Disease, pests, and problem resistance
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.
Native geographic location and habitat
Bark color and texture
Mature bark is a dark gray-brown with blocky ridges,. Young trees develop a flaky, peeling bark that reveals an orange inner bark.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate, simple, rounded to coarsely lobed leaves with variable wavy margins. Dark green above with silvery-white underside. Leaves turn to golden or orange brown in fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Male flowers hang in clusters of catkins.
Female flowers are inconspicuous, tiny spikes in leaf axils.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Acorns are 1 inch long and enclosed halfway with a warty cap. The cap often remains attached to a stalk (peduncle) once the fruit is ripe and falls from the tree.