Monday, February 13, 2012

Sawtooth Oak (Quercus acutissima)

A deciduous tree from the Beech Family (Fagaceae)
Sawtooth Oak, native to Japan, China, and Korea, is a species introduced because of its rapid establishment and heavy fruit production at an early age, serving as an important source of food in late summer and throughout autumn for wildlife. If kept fertilized and free of competing weeds, these trees begin to produce acorns when they are 6-8 years old, and maturing trees are capable of producing over 1000 pounds of nuts each year.

The “Gobbler” variety yields about 150 acorns per pound. Large birds (crows, bluejays, turkeys), squirrels, deer, raccoons, opossums, and other mammals love the large, abundant crops of acorns, which are borne heavily every other year, if not every year. This Oak is easy to identify by its pyramidal shape in youth, striated young bark, retained winter foliage, acorns with frilled caps, and finely serrated leaves (from which it gets its common name). It is planted throughout most of Ohio, and may reach 60 feet tall by 60 feet wide at maturity, when found in the open. As a member of the Red Oak group and the Beech Family, it is related to the Beeches, Chestnuts, and other Oaks.

Planting Requirements - Sawtooth Oak prefers moist, well-drained, acidic soils of moderate fertility, but adapts well to relatively poor, dry soils of neutral or slightly alkaline pH. It thrives in full sun to partial sun (but is shade tolerant in youth) and is grown in zones 5 to 9.
Potential Problems - Sawtooth Oak is basically disease and pest free, which is somewhat remarkable for an introduced species. In very high pH soils, it develops chlorotic leaves. This oak tends to retain its spreading lower branches more so as compared to other Oaks, so limbing up in urban situations will be necessary at a fairly young age.

The Sawtooth Oak is one of 8 tree seedlings which will be offered in the 2012 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District. Other seedlings include white pine, red pine, black walnut, sugar maple, American plum, redbud, and flowering dogwood. The district will also offer 2 varieties of blueberry, a red raspberry, and a gold raspberry. For more information and to print an order blank, please click on the Tree Sale icon above.

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