Swamp Chestnut Oak (Quercus michauxii)

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Named for the French botanist Andre Michaux, who discovered this stately oak (among many others) back in the 1800’s, the common name refers to where it is found and the shape of the leaves. Don’t let the swamp part fool you…although a heavy drinker, SCO’s won’t tolerate poor drainage or longer periods of flooding, save those spots for Nuttall or overcup oak. Rather, it prefers rises or swells in poorly drained bottoms, and will thrive in moderate to well drained bottoms and coves that lead to the bottoms. It has also taken on other names such as “basket oak” and “cow oak” based on uses for its wood and acorns. 

Toxey likes to call them “super swampers,” based on their aggressive growth and form, and its acorns “gobstoppers” because he gets a kick out of watching younger deer struggle to get the huge acorns centered perfectly in their jaws. He claims a loud popping sound indicates their success followed by a series of crunches. 

Swamp Chestnut oak has a reputation of being unproductive for a few years following a good crop, so we only choose from parent trees that consistently produce on an annual basis. Many of our favorite hybrids come from the same tracts as our parent SCO’s, which could very well explain why our parent trees seem to show such variation in acorn and leaf shape, but most importantly produce huge crops more often than not. Expect acorns to begin dropping roughly a week to two weeks after white oak.

Type:

Zone:

White Oak section

6 - 9

Soil pH: 4.5 - 6.5
Mature Height: 100'
Wildlife Value: Acorns eaten by deer, wild hogs, wild turkey, black bear, squirrel, chipmunks, red fox, and a variety of waterfowl.
Site Preference: Naturally occurs on a variety of moist soils and well-drained alluvial bottoms and lower positions of cove sites. Prefers good drainage.
Nut Maturity Date: October to early November
Alias: Cow Oak, Basket Oak

 

 Swamp Chestnut Oak (Quercus michauxii)  Range