Swamp chestnut oak may be difficult to find in commercial nurseries, but it may be worth looking for. This species provides dense shade and good red fall color. It may be useful as a parkway tree or as a shade tree in residential yards.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- North America
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional flooding,
- Alkaline soil
- May be difficult to find in nurseries,
- Messy fruit/plant parts
- Fall color
Season of Interest:
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Game birds,
- Migrant birds,
- Small mammals
Tree & Plant Care
Despite its name, this tree does not prefer to grow in wet areas. It prefers a moist, well-drained soil.
Able to tolerate dry sites as well.
Relatively easy to transplant.
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.
Native geographic location and habitat
Common in well-drained bottomlands and flood plains.
In Illinois, this species is native only in a few southern counties.
Bark color and texture
Bark is light in color, gray to silvery-gray. It is thin and platy on mature trees.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, alternate, obovate leaves; margins are coarsely serrated; up to 8 inches long.
Medium green on the upper leaf surface; white and hairy on the lower surface. Fall color is red.
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 to 1 1/2 inches long, with a bowl-shaped cap that covers about 1/3 of the nut.