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Swamp White Oak

Swamp White Oak, Quercus bicolor, is a large, beautiful tree that grows up to 60 feet in height and width.  This is an oak tree, so it has a traditional oak leaf with a toothed margin.  The top side of the leaf is deep green while the bottom side of the leaf is fuzzy and white or gray.  The fruit on all oak trees are acorns.  The acorn on Swamp White Oak is typically held on the tree in pairs and each acorn is one-inch long and 1/3 of the acorn is covered by the involucre, which is the "hat" portion of the acorn.  Acorns mature in one growing season because this is a white oak.

Swamp white oak is, as the name implies, a tree that likes to grow in swampy locations.  It is a tree that is adaptable to many locations, even dry locations, but it is a great choice in locations that tend to have wet soil.  It does well in most any soil condition, but it can have a problem with iron chlorosis in locations of high pH, according to Iowa State University.  This is a great tree to plant as a specimen tree somewhere in your landscape or it could be planted in a row with other oaks or other swamp white oaks.  It can also be planted as a shade tree for your home or your yard. 

All oak trees are great choices for wildlife, white oak acorns are sweeter than red oak acorns.  Deer, squirrels, mice, voles, rabbits, raccoons, turkey, wood ducks, mallards, as well as more than 100 vertebrate animals relish acorns as a good food choice, according to the University of Florida Extension.  Many of these animals also browse on young tree shoots when other foods are not available.  Oak trees also provide habitat for many of these animals in the wild.   Oak trees are slow growing trees.  Slow growing trees produce dense, strong, durable wood, according to Purdue Extension.  Because the wood of oak trees is so dense it is a good wood to use for lumber to make many things for decorative use and industrial uses. 

Swamp White Oak is a great tree to use in any landscape setting, especially in swampy or wet locations in your landscape.  It can grow to be a very large tree, so make sure that it has enough room to fully develop where it is planted.  Swamp White Oak is not only a tree that is beautiful for us to enjoy but also a great tree for much of the wildlife you might find on your acreage.  It is a great habitat and food resource for hundreds of wildlife.  So the next time you need to plant a tree in a wet location of your landscape, on an acreage or in town, look to plant a Swamp White Oak tree.

Swamp White Oak
Swamp White Oak Leaves
Nicole Stoner

For the plant of the month for September, I will conclude my a 3-part series on trees for low-lying, wet locations in your landscape.  These three trees have included Bald Cypress, River Birch, and now Swamp White Oak.  I will complete this water-loving plant series with Swamp White Oak.