The Sawtooth Oak is extremely functional as a resilient shade tree, providing both abundant shade and bursts of color. Warmly hued, its leaves shift from dark summery green to warm tan-brown and rich honey-gold autumn shades in the cooler months. The Sawtooth Oak’s appeal encompasses more than visual interest, however; among its strongest features are its valuable durability and adaptability, which allow this species to thrive in various climates and soil conditions.
Scientifically termed Quercus Acutissima, the Sawtooth Oak also belongs to the Fagaceae family. One of the largest oak species, this Asian tree is native to China, Korea, Japan, the Himalayas, and Indochina, and is significant in Asian lore and culture. Its leaves were fed to silkworms, thus indirectly contributing to Asia’s silk exports; the dark dye extracted from the tree was used for writing history; the fruit (acorns) were used to sooth hemorrhages and menstrual cramps. Considered an invasive plant, the Sawtooth Oak was introduced to (and became neutralized in) many parts of North America. Today it is widespread in the eastern United States. With a 6-9 hardiness rating, the deciduous Sawtooth Oak prefers full sun and medium well-drained soil.
Large and sturdy, the Sawtooth Oak rears up to an approximate height of 40-60 ft. (with a respective 40-60 ft. span), though it may grow taller. This tree is characterized by its lance-shaped, glossy dark leaves (from which it derives its name, since the leaves are fringed with small triangular saw-tooth-esque lobes), bristle-tipped acorns, gray-black ridged bark, and yellow-green catkins that bloom from March to April. The bitter taste of these plentiful acorns—which rain down annually in autumn, attracting great amounts of wildlife—deter squirrels but provide sustenance to jays, pigeons, and deer, and often mature nearly a month before other oaks release their crop. Beetles and butterflies are among the insects that feed from the tree’s sap.
“When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.” –Thomas Carlyle
Photos Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
Photos Michasia Dowdy, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
Photos Copyright © Horticopia, Inc. 2017
This Tree's Zone: 6 to 9
Your Growing Zone:
|Fall Foliage||Yellow to golden-brown|
|Bloom||Yellow to green|
|Bloom Time||March to April|
|Shape||Broad round crown|
|Size||40 to 60 feet|
|Spread||40 to 60 feet|