Quercus phellos

One of the most popular trees for planting due to rapid growth, structure, and hardiness. Also used in pulp and paper production. Native to bottom lands of New Jersey south to Georgia and west to Eastern Texas. Thomas Jefferson’s favorite tree.

  • Culture
  • Concerns
  • Management
Culture for Willow Oak

Prefers moist, acidic, loose soils, but is adaptable to dry to medium moisture. Adaptable to moisture fluctuations. Compacted soil will slow growth rates, but does tolerate urban conditions better than most. Roots can interfere with sidewalks and other infrastructure.

Concerns about Willow Oak

Lecanium (soft) and obscure (armored) scale can be problematic. Spider mites can cause a dusty appearance to the leaves. Boring insects can attack weakened or stressed trees. Defoliating caterpillars like winter moth, canker worm and gypsy moth can cause defoliation. Multiple years of defoliation can cause stress. Bacterial leaf scorch can infect in areas of the East and Midwest. Open-grown trees need structural pruning to develop a central leader or multiple branches may arise from the same spot on the trunk.

Management Practices for Willow Oak

Frequent structural pruning is necessary to obtain a central leader and proper lateral branch development. Ensure proper pruning cuts are made so pruning wounds close rapidly to prevent extensive decay. Preventative applications for borers and/or caterpillars may be necessary. Insecticide applications for scale should be applied when immature scales (crawlers) are active in late spring/early summer (6-8 weeks after leaf emergence).

Photos related to Willow Oak

Willow Oak Image 1

Willow Oak with multiple trunks during leaf expansion

Willow Oak Image 2

Spider mite injury: Off-color “rusty” foliage

Willow Oak Image 3

Obscure scale on Willow Oak twig

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