Scientific name: Quercus Nigra
Also known as: Possum oak, spotted oak, duck oak, punk oak, orange oak
Size: 60-100 feet, 50-80 wide, conical shape
Lifespan: 30-80 years, tends to live longer in drier inland climates
Characteristics: The green leaves are highly variable in shape, with some resembling duck feet and others being spatula-shaped. The leaves can also look like there is a drop of water hanging from them. The water oak produces an abundance of acorns that are an important food source for many animals.
Blooming period: May and June
Habitat: River banks, river valleys or plains, moist to very wet soil
Location: Most prevalent in central to north Florida, Delaware to Georgia along the east coast, Alabama to Eastern Texas along the gulf coast, some inland areas
What you should know: The water oak is an ornamental and shade tree. It is considered to be nearly evergreen in the Deep South because it does not lose all of its leaves in the winter. It is fast growing, averaging two feet per year, and has shallow roots. Because it is fast growing and reproduces quickly, the water oak is typically the most abundant species in a stand of trees.
Uses: Cabinetry, furniture, interior trim, flooring, and veneer
When you should trim: Water oak wood is weaker than most oak species, and tends to start to hollow out at about 40 years of age, making it more prone to falling limbs and deterioration. You should trim cracked limbs, or branches that are dying or dead.
History: The water oak has been used as a source of lumber and fuel since the 1600s. Many early settlers used water oak to build their homes.
Fun fact: When cutting down the trunk of a living water oak, water will often drain from the cut site.
At Above and Beyond Tree Service we have a deep-rooted passion, devotion, and respect for trees. We are inspired by their beauty, strength, power, and their indelible role in our community and the environment. We want to share our passion for trees with you through our educational blog series, Tree Facts, to hopefully inspire you too. This series offers information we hope you’ll find useful on a different species of tree each month, focusing on trees you might find in your own backyard and neighborhood here in Northeast Florida.