Audubon® Swamp Chestnut Oak
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Swamp Chestnut Oak may not be as famous as its White Oak or Red Oak brothers, but it is everything you want in an oak tree. Long-lived, tall, symmetrical, and sturdy, this majestic shade tree is a legacy tree that future generations will cherish. Your local wildlife will be grateful to you for planting it, too—especially the birds, who will forage in its canopy for the myriad insects that dwell there. Tanagers, titmice, chickadees, warblers, gnatcatchers, and vireos are some of the birds that depend on the caterpillars and other creatures that native oaks provide.
May Benefit & Attract: Thrushes, waxwings, wood warblers, finches, mockingbirds & thrashers, chickadees & titmice, orioles, cardinals & grosbeaks, crows & jays, sparrows, nuthatches, vireos, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and wrens.
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
Size AA (2-3' tall) container grown
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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Swamp Chestnut Oak is primarily a tree of the southeastern states, though its range does extend northward into Illinois and New Jersey. It is not a denizen of swamps per se, but prefers well-drained bottomlands that may flood temporarily. In these rich sites, it grows fairly fast and very tall, becoming one of our largest native Oaks. Swamp Chestnut wood is hard and durable, and in the past, it was used frequently in forging wagon parts and railroad ties. The wood also splits into strips readily, making it ideal for making barrels and baskets. Thus, the tree is also known as “Basket Oak.”
Wildlife like squirrels, foxes, turkeys, and blue jays appreciate the large acorns of Swamp Chestnut Oak. Livestock relish them as well, and in the South, this species is known as “Cow Oak.” You may like the acorns, too! They are sweeter than other acorns and don’t need any treatment to be edible.
How to Grow
Plant your Swamp Chestnut Oak in an area where it will have lots of elbow room and will receive full sun all day. It is not fussy about soil; clay soil is super. Although Swamp Chestnut Oak is native to wet—even flooded—spaces, it does not need to be grown in a swamp. Well-drained soils of average moisture levels are fine. You will want to be sure to irrigate regularly during the first couple of years of establishment, however. Little pruning will be necessary, but if you must prune, do so only between December and February. The fungal disease Oak Wilt can strike when Oaks are pruned during active growth. A member of the White Oak Group, Swamp Chestnut Oak is less susceptible to Oak Wilt than members of the Red Oak Group, but it is still vulnerable.
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