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Don’t let this tree’s delicate, willowy foliage fool you—Willow Oak is a mighty shade tree as strong and durable as any other Oak! Plant this moderately fast-growing tree where it will have plenty of elbow room, as it will become a massive specimen over the course of its long life. Whether planted as a front yard or backyard shademaker or lined along your street or driveway, Willow Oak will become a noble feature of your landscape. Its symmetrical, rounded branching habit creates a neat and ordered silhouette that lends a formal air to large suburban lots, estates, and country homes.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
- Spacing: 40-50'
- Exposure: Full Sun
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Native to the Southeastern U.S. from Eastern Texas to Florida and ranging as far north as New Jersey, Willow Oak has long played a part in Americans’ lives. Writing in the 1950s, noted nature writer Donald Peattie remarked that the wood was often labeled “Red Oak” and was used for, among other things, “pulpits, church pews, bar tops, wagon axles, stairs, railings, balustrades, bedsteads, and flour barrels.” Today the tree is also widely planted for purely ornamental reasons. Local wildlife has ties to Willow Oak, too. In the not-too-distant future, you may see squirrels scampering to collect the abundant acorns your tree will produce. Blue jays will come to dine, and maybe even redheaded woodpeckers as well!
Willow Oak’s fine-textured, almost feathery foliage is this tree’s most striking feature. A soothing mid-green during the growing season, the canopy takes on deep golden tones in autumn, while some trees turn russet-red.
How to Grow
No green thumb required with this one. Willow Oak is a tough tree that tolerates less than ideal sites without complaint. It needs full sun and prefers acidic soil, but is otherwise undemanding and can be grown in clay, in wet or dry soils, and in sites that experience strong winds, salt spray, or air pollution. With the Bower & Branch™ Water Element in place and nutrition managed with our Soil Enhancer and Fertilizer Element, you can expect relatively fast growth from this tree with a minimum of maintenance. You don’t even have to bother with raking if you don’t want to! The leaves are too small and light to smother the lawn, and most of them will just blow away.
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