Willow Oak Tree

By: C. Colston Burrell
A valuable shade tree, willow oak tree is a unique specimen tree. See more pictures of trees.

If it weren't for the acorns produced by the willow oak tree, this southeastern tree would scarcely be recognizable as an oak. Its graceful, willowlike leaves are a far cry from the broad, deeply-lobed leaves usually associated with this genus.

Description of willow oak tree: Other than having narrow, pointed, shiny leaves, this is a typical deciduous oak, with as massive a trunk and branches as any and a similar round-headed form at maturity. It reaches 60 feet in height. In the extreme southern part of its range, the leaves may be partially evergreen, but generally they turn yellow or reddish brown before dropping in fall.


Growing willow oak tree: The willow oak is faster growing than many oaks and much easier to transplant, since it doesn't have as deep a taproot as most of its cousins. It takes full sun or light shade and needs a well-drained soil, preferably rich and on the acid side.

Uses for willow oak tree: The willow oak is widely used as a street and shade tree, especially around its native habitat, and has shown itself quite pollution resistant. It makes an excellent specimen tree for a vast lawn.

Willow oak tree related species: The shingle oak (Quercus imbricaria) is similar, with slightly broader leaves, and can be considered a northern variant of the willow oak.

Scientific name of willow oak tree: Quercus phellos


Want more information on trees and gardening? Try:

  • Shade Trees: Towering overhead, shade trees can complement even the biggest house, and define the amount of sunlight that reaches your yard.
  • Flowering Trees: Many trees offer seasonal blooms that will delight any visitor to your yard or garden.
  • Types of Trees: Looking for fresh ideas about what to plant? Find out about different species that can turn your yard into a verdant oasis.
  • Gardening: Get great tips about how to keep your garden healthy and thriving.