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Water OakFenwick-Hollowell Wetlands Trail

Water oak (Quercus nigra)


The Water oak is a semi-evergreen tree found in forests and flood plains with a round to conical form and grayish black heavily ridged bark in mature trees. It has simple leaves with up to five lobes in an alternate arrangement. The water oak flowers in spring with female flowers in spikes and male flowers in catkins. After fertilization, the acorns require two years of development and drop from the tree in the fall.
Water oak

Gardening Tips

Care Known Problems How to Harvest Mature Size Notes/Uses
The Water oak grows best in medium to wet acidic soils with full sun but will also grow in part shade with different soil types The Water oak is susceptible to many diseases and rot and has many insect pests, and its limbs break easily; It is also mildly poisonous following ingestion of tannins in the acorns or leaves, causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, frequent urination, and jaundice Acorns are harvested in the fall Up to 100 feet in height and 60 feet in width The Water oak is used for timber, fuel, veneer and plywood; Native Americans used it for food and medicine; It is found in many garden types and for landscaping; The water oak offers food and habitat to many moths, butterflies, birds, small mammals, deer and black bears