City of Colorado Springs / Forestry / Colorado Springs & Trees / Arbor Day Trees / Swamp White Oak

Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor)

Swamp white oak tree
Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulurist, Bugwood.org
The swamp white oak is not normally found in Colorado, but many kinds of wildlife eat the acorns, which are sweet to squirrels and particularly ducks. The hard strong wood is commercially valuable and is usually cut and sold as white oak. Swamp white oaks are naturally found in lowlands, along edges of streams, and in swamps subject to occasional flooding. Swamp White Oaks prefer rich, deep, moist to wet, poorly-drained, acidic soils, but adapt well to dry and average soils that are neutral to slightly alkaline in pH. It thrives in full sun to partial sun (but is shade tolerant in youth) and is found in zones 4 to 8. Under ideal conditions it is rapid growing and long lived, reaching 300 years. The growth habit of Swamp White Oak is perhaps the most stately and uniform of the White Oak group, being densely oval, upright, and symmetrical through middle age, then becoming more spreading with advanced maturity. It grows to a 60-foot spread with a height of 60 feet tall. Leaves turn brown to red in the fall. Large, broad-leafed shade trees such as the bur oak can decrease energy use when planted to shade the east and west windows of a home or business. Click here for more information.

swamp white oak acorns
Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org