Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Overcup Oak, Swamp White Oak, Water White Oak

Overcup Oak, Swamp White Oak, Water White Oak

Quercus lyrata

Full to part sun; moderately wet to medium moisture level; grows on a wide range of soils including loamy, sandy, clay loam and heavy clay; acidic pH.

40-60 feet height by 40-60 feet spread; blooms in spring with appearance of new leaves with yellow male catkins and inconspicuous, red female spikes; tan-brown acorns, up to 1 inch long, in fall. Acorns mature in one year.

Growth Rate: Moderate

Maintenance:   All oaks are susceptible to a large number of diseases, including oak wilt, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests including scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils. Notwithstanding these problems, oaks are generally considered to be low maintenance trees.

Propagation: Seed germination code C(150-170) at 36 degrees F. Unlike many oaks, it has a fibrous root system rather than a deep taproot and therefore is easier to transplant.

Native Region: Concentrated in the Coastal Plain Province plus isolated counties in Middle and East Tennessee

Small canopy tree with a broad, rounded crown and straight trunk that has become a mainstream landscape tree in the southeastern U.S. Occurs naturally in floodplain forests, lowlands and along swamps, usually occurring on clay or silty clay flats along streams and rivers. Can withstand significant flooding and poorly drained soils. However does best on sites with better drainage and soil texture. Reaches a maximum age of about 400 years and begins to produce acorns at about 25-30 years. Good acorn crops are produced every 3-4 years. Common name comes from fact that acorn is enclosed in a warty, gray cup enclosing two-thirds to nearly all of the acorn. Cultivars available.

Very high wildlife value. Ducks, wild turkeys, hogs, deer, squirrels and smaller rodents eat the acorns.

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