Oak, Water Quercus nigra
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Hardiness Zones 6 - 9The Water Oak can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. View Map
Type of treeOrnamental Trees, Shade Trees
Mature HeightThe Water Oak grows to be 50' - 80' feet in height.
Mature SpreadThe Water Oak has a spread of about 50' - 80' at full maturity.
SunThis oak does well in full sun, partial shade.
SoilThe Water Oak grows in acidic, drought tolerant, loamy, sandy, well drained, wet, wide range, clay soils.
ShapeThis oak has rounded, spreading or horizontal shape.
The Water Oak is a North American native with significant soil tolerance. It does not compete well and does not tolerate even light shade. Water oak is frequently used to restore bottomland hardwood forests in the Southeast on land that was previously cleared for agriculture or pine plantations.
A North American native, Water Oak is adapted to wet, swampy areas, such as along ponds and stream banks, but can also tolerate other well-drained sites and even heavy, compacted soils.
Water oak acorns are at the top of the food preference list for whitetail deer, squirrels, raccoons, pigs, wild turkeys, mallards, wood ducks, and quail. In wintertime, deer will browse the buds and young twigs.
The Water Oak has been used as a source of timber and fuel by people in the southern states since the 1600's. Many homes were built and heated by giant trees that sprouted hundreds of years before Columbus.
The Water Oak tolerates wet sites, but does best in well-drained areas that do not experience severe drought.
The Water Oak's leaves are green in summer, and they change to very attractive fall colors.
The blooms of the Water Oak are almost imperceptible.
The Water Oak blooms in the spring.
The Water Oak produces one-inch round acorns.
Rate of growth refers to the vertical increase in growth unless specified differently. Rate, as is true for size, is influenced by numerous variables such as soil, drainage, water, fertility, light, exposure, ad infinitum. The designation slow means the plant grows 12” or less per year; medium refers to 13 to 24” of growth per year; and fast to 25” or greater.Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by Michael Dirr.