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Kansas Forest Service

Kansas Forest Service
2610 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66502

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Swamp White Oak

bald  cypressNative Range
Quercus bicolor, or Swamp White oak, is a great oak for riparian or watery locations. While it is not native to Kansas it is adaptable the northeast portion of Kansas.

Mature Size 
Reaches a height of 50-70 feet and a crown spread of 40-60 feet

Growth Rate
It is commonly considered slow growing, however, on a fertile site with adequate moisture, after a couple of years establishing its roots, it can grow two to three feet a year.

Leaves, Stems and Fruit
The leaves are simple and alternately arranged on the twigs. They are 6 to 10 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide with the broadest portion toward the outer end of the leaf. Usually, there are 5 to 9 lobes separated by deep indentations with the top surface being darker green than the underside. Young twigs are light brown and smooth but corky ridges often develop after the second year. Flowers appear in April or May with both male and female flowers borne on the same tree. Fruit is a large, nearly round acorn enclosed 1/2 or more by a large fringed cup. The bark of older trees is dark with deep vertical furrows.

Riparian - Swamp White oak is great for wet sites along stream banks.

Wildlife - Acorns constitute a good staple food for a variety of birds and animals. Woodpeckers, jays, flickers, squirrels, whitetail deer and game birds such as wild turkey and wood duck are important species that consume the acorns. It is also a great tree for riparian plantings.

Adaptation and Soil
Swamp White oak has adapted to the Eastern half of the state and grows best on moist, loamy soils but it will grow on most soils if adequate moisture is available. Moisture is a limiting factor on most upland soils.

It is normally spaced 10 to 18 feet within the row. Space the rows 20 to 24 feet from adjacent trees or shrubs to prevent the oak from over-growing smaller plants or to prevent fast growing plants from over-growing the oak. In a timber planting, swamp white oak can be planted in 10 x 10 feet to 15 x 15 feet spacing.

One-year-old, bare-root seedlings, 12 to 18 inches tall are used in plantings. Survival is generally good. Initial growth is centered around root development. Two to three years after planting, top growth should average 8 to 12 inches annually with good weed and grass control; growth may reach 40 inches annually with adequate moisture.

Swamp White oak is very hearty and disease resistant. Few known major insect or disease problems exist

Soil Information
Average Height in 20 Yrs: 
-Eastern24-28 ft.
-Central24-26 ft.
-WesternNot Suitable
Growth Rate:Fast
Native Species:Native to Kansas
Windbreak Value:High
Wildlife Value:High
Lumber Products:Yes
Fuelwood Products:Yes
Drought Tolerance:Medium
Soil Saturation:Medium Tolerance
Salinity Tolerance:No Tolerance
pH Range:4.3-6.5