Mongolian Oak

Quercus mongolica

Leaves: Deciduous. Oblong to oval shaped leaves with large, rounded teeth to shallowly lobed. Leaves are not truly lobed, but have a wavy leaf edge with large blunt teeth. They are dark green above, paler below and 4-8” long by 2-3” wide.  Rosey-red to bronzy-brown leaf color in the fall. Leaves are often retained into early or mid-winter.

Bark/Twigs: Dark gray bark is thick and furrowed, with rough, deep ridges.

Flowers/Fruit: Inconspicuous flowers as catkins. Male are yellow-green, female are reddish.  Acorn is brown and about ¾” long in a fringed, warty acorn cap.

Mature size and shape: Medium to large. 25-45’h x 25-35’w. Open form, somewhat irregular crown.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun, but is shade tolerant. Grows best in fertile, rich soil, but does well in a wide variety of soils. Drought tolerant, but prefers moist well-drained soil. Deep root system. Sensitive to root compaction.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Unique shade tree. Slow growing rate. Average maintenance. Sensitive to construction and transplanting injury. No serious insect or disease problems.

USDA Hardiness Zone:  3-8

Family/Origin: Fagaceae - Beech and Oak. It is native to forested areas in Japan, China, Korea, Mongolia and Russia (Siberia).

Campus use: Rare. Only specimen. The tree south of the Park Building (Bld 1) is on the Utah Big Tree Registry.

Gambel or Scrub Oak

Quercus gambelii

Leaves: Deciduous. Oblong to elliptical shaped leaf, 2½ -7” long with 7-9 pairs of rounded lobes. Dark green color. Fall color is brown, sometimes orange-yellow.

Bark/Twigs: Gray-brown bark. Somewhat scaly, but can be ridged. Trunk is often short and twisting.

Flowers/Fruit: Inconspicuous, greenish brown flowers in spring. Small ½ -¾” long, brown acorns with a short or no stalk.

Mature size and shape: Small. 15-20’h x 12-15’w. Rarely grows taller. Overall crown is rounded. Tree is often shrubby and grows in clumps.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. Dislikes shade. Very drought tolerant. Does well in poor soils. Gambel oak was used extensively by Dr. Walter Cottam in famous oak hybridizing experiments conducted at the University of Utah.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Native to Utah. Grows well in groups or thickets. Good for native or water-conserving landscapes. Can be planted near power lines. Slow growing rate. Average maintenance. Gambel oak is a tough, durable plant with few serious pest problems. Galls, or swollen areas on stems are quite common.

USDA Hardiness Zone:  3-9

Family/Origin: Fagaceae - Beech and Oak. Native to most of the foothills of Utah and throughout the Intermountain West and the southern and central Rockies.  Grows on fairly dry lower mountain slopes and is the common "scrub" oak along the foothills of the Wasatch.

Campus use: Somewhat uncommon. Can be found in the grass area south of Gateway Heights (Bld 807) and north of Sage Point Housing (Bld 811). Hybrid oaks planted by Dr Cottam can still be found east of Safety (Bld 301) and SW of Red Butte Gardens.

Eastern Red Oak

Quercus rubra

Leaves: Deciduous. The leaves are 5-8” long, 4-5” wide with 7-9 sharp pointed lobes. They are dark green above, paler beneath in summer with exceptional fall colors from red-orange to deep red.

Bark/Twigs: Smoother and gray on young stems eventually turning brownish gray to nearly black with shallow ridges. Has characteristic shiny stripes down the center of its bark ridges.

Flowers/Fruit: The acorns are red-ish brown and 1" long with a pointed knob on the end. The cap is shallow, only covering the base or up to ¼ of the acorn and is relatively smooth. Acorns take over a year to mature, typically 18-20 months. Seeds need a minimum of three months of temperatures below 40 degrees to germinate.

Mature size and shape: Large. 60-80’h. Has a large oval shaped canopy and good branching structure.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. Can handle some shade. Is more tolerant of alkaline soils than some of the others in the red oak group such as pin oak but are still prone to iron chlorosis. Not particularly drought tolerant. Can live up to 500 years in ideal conditions. Red oaks are one of the most important oaks for timber production.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Slow to medium growing rate. Claimed to be the fastest growing oak. Average maintenance. Good shade tree, usually planted as a specimen.

USDA Hardiness Zone:  3-8

Family/Origin: Fagaceae - Beech and Oak. Native throughout most of eastern North America, from Canada to the south.

Campus use: Uncommon. Can be found along the sidewalk northwest of the Union Building (Bld 53).

Cork Oak

Quercus variabilis

Leaves: Deciduous. Leaves have small, sharp serrations, no lobes. The leaves are 3-5” long, weakly lobed or coarsely toothed, dark green above, paler beneath, with the leaf edges often downcurved.

Bark/Twigs: Very thick, ridged, corky bark.

Flowers/Fruit: Flowers are catkins produced in mid-spring. The acorns are ½- ¾ " long, covered two-thirds by a deep, fringed, scaly cap with elongated scales.

Mature size and shape: Large. 40-50’h. Rather open growth habit.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. The tree forms a thick, rugged bark that can be harvested to produce cork. It has a lower yield than its relative Q. suber which is the primary source of cork for wine bottle stoppers. The harvesting of cork does not harm the tree. Only the bark is extracted, and a new layer of cork regrows, making it a renewable resource. Q. suber is an evergreen oak and is not hardy in Utah.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Unique specimen tree. Slow growing rate. Average maintenance.

USDA Hardiness Zone:  5-7

Family/Origin: Fagaceae - Beech and Oak. Native to eastern Asia, China, Korea, and Japan. Also called the Chinese cork oak.

Campus use: Rare. Unique specimen. The tree south of the Park Building (Bld 1) is on the Utah Big Tree Registry.

Columnar English Oak

Quercus robur var. 'Fastigiata'

Leaves: Deciduous. 2½-5” long and 1-2½” wide. Widest in the middle or towards the end. 3-7 pairs of rounded lobes. The lobes at leaf base are ear-lobe like. Medium to dark green color. Fall leaves are brown and often persist throughout the winter.

Bark/Twigs: Deeply furrowed, grayish black bark. Younger branches have smooth bark. Branches twist and spiral as they grow upwards.

Flowers/Fruit: Inconspicuous, yellow-brown to green-brown flowers form in long, thin hanging clusters or catkins during spring, as the leaves are emerging. Acorns are shiny brown and narrow, about 1-1½” long. The acorn’s cap is smooth and covers ½ to a ⅓ of the nut. Acorns grow singly or in groups of up to 4.

Mature size and shape: Large. 50-60’h x 10-15’w. Distinctly upright columnar shape. Maintains an impressively narrow columnar shape.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. Moist, well-drained soil is best. Adapts to a variety of conditions as long as it is not in wet soil. This is the ancient oak species of England, its oldest specimens once venerated by the Druids as oracles. The Jamestown colonists in 1607 and Mayflower Pilgrims of 1620 both traveled to the New World in ships made of English oak.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Good tree choice for narrow areas. Creates an elegant formal look when lining walks or paths. Unusual tree that attracts a lot of attention. Functions well as a screen or windbreak. Slow growing rate. Average maintenance.

USDA Hardiness Zone:  5-8

Family/Origin: Fagaceae - Beech and Oak. Native to Europe, North Africa and parts of western Asia. The upright form was first discovered growing wild in a forest in Germany and was propagated by grafting in 1783.

Campus use: Common. Can be found along west side of INSCC (Bld 19) or southeast of Languages and Communication (Bld 49).

Bur Oak

Quercus macrocarpa

Leaves: Deciduous.  Leaves are 4-10” long about 3-5”wide. They have 5-9 rounded deep lobes and are extremely variable in shape. Divisions between lobes often come within ¼" of the center of the leaf or midvein. Leaves are much broader towards their point.  Dark green in color with lighter underside. Leaves turn brown in fall, sometimes dull yellow.

Bark/Twigs: Thick, dark gray to gray-brown bark. Bark has a very rough texture and develops deep ridges and furrows even on younger branches. After the first year, stems develop corky ridges.

Flowers/Fruit: Inconspicuous, yellow-green or brown flowers form in thin, hanging clusters. Flowers in late spring as leaves emerge. Acorns are 1-1½” long and round. Acorn cap is fringed and surrounds ½ or more of acorn.

Mature size and shape: Large. 60-80’h with an equal or slightly greater spread. Spreading and rounded shape with a thick, sturdy trunk when older. Somewhat oval or pyramidal when young.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. Adapts to a variety of conditions and soil types including clay. Drought tolerant due to extensive root system. Lives a long time.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Good large shade tree for open areas. Too large for most residences. Slow growing rate. Average maintenance. Few insect or disease problems. Difficult to transplant.

USDA Hardiness Zone:  3-8

Family/Origin: Fagaceae - Beech and Oak. Native from the Great Plains east throughout the Midwest and Lake States.

Campus use: Common. Large specimens can be found south of Sill Center (Bld 51) and north of Tanner Irish Humanities (Bld 45).