Swamp Chestnut Oak (Michauxii)

The Swamp Chestnut Oak (Michauxii) is generally described as a perennial tree. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the spring and summer . The greatest bloom is usually observed in the mid spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until fall. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Swamp Chestnut Oak (Michauxii) has a moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a moderate growth rate. At maturity, the typical Swamp Chestnut Oak (Michauxii) will reach up to 100 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 35 feet.

The Swamp Chestnut Oak (Michauxii) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by bare root, container, seed. It has a slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have medium vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -23°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Wildlife: Swamp chestnut oak acorns are eaten by white-tailed deer, wild hogs, wild turkey, black bear, squirrels, and chipmunks. The acorns are also eaten by cows.

Timber: The wood is used in many kinds of construction; for agricultural implements, wheels, veneer, boards, fence posts, tight cooperage, baskets and fuel.

General Characteristics

Quecus michauxii Nutt., swamp chestnut oak, grows along the Atlantic Coastal Plain from New Jersey south to north Florida, and west to east Texas; its range extends up the Mississippi River Valley to Illinois and Ohio.

It is a medium-size to large tree that grows up to over 100 feet tall, with a trunk to over 6 feet in diameter, and a thick, scaly, loose, light-gray bark. The leaves are deciduous, somewhat oval, and 4 to 9 inches long; they are short-pointed at the tip, tapering to rounded at the base, with numerous shallow lobes or rounded teeth along the edges, dark green, smooth above and softly hairy beneath. Leafstalks are 1 inch long. The acorns are large and usually produced singly or in clusters of 2 or 3. There are 85 acorns per pound.

Required Growing Conditions

Although the species is widely distributed on the best well-drained loamy first-bottom ridges, it is principally found on well-drained silty clay, loamy terraces, and colluvial (rocky deposit) sites in the bottomlands of large and small streams.

Cultivation and Care

Although it is not a prolific sprouter, swamp chestnut oak can vegetatively reproduce by sprouts from roots and stumps. Regeneration from seed is greatly hindered by animal activity. Seed germination takes place soon following seedfall, with literally no period of dormancy. A moist, well-drained loam, covered with a light litter layer, provides an excellent seedbed. It is site sensitivity with growth greatly influenced by soil type and drainage. Acorns may be drilled in rows 8 to 10 inches apart or broadcast and covered with ΒΌ inch of firmed soil. In a nursery setting, seedbed densities of 10 to 35 acorns per square foot are recommended. Fall-sown beds should be mulched to protect seeds and seedlings. Partial shade is beneficial for germination. Seedlings are transplanted after the first year.

General Upkeep and Control

Swamp chestnut oak is shade intolerant and requires openings for establishment. It normally receives heavy competition from vines, annuals, and brush that are common to most bottomland hardwood sites. When mature, they retard the growth of understory vegetation because they are allelopathic, that is, they exude plant growth inhibitors.

Pests and Potential Problems Swamp chestnut oak is affected by wood decaying fungi species of Fomes, Polyporus, and Stereum, and sporadically by oak leaf blister (Taphrina caerulescens). Acorns are attacked by weevils; insect defoliators like June beetles, orange striped oakworm, fall cankerworm, spring cankerworm, forest tent caterpillar, yellownecked caterpillar, oakleaf caterpillar, and the redhumped oakworm. Borers that attack the species include red oak borer, carpenter worms, Columbian timber beetle, two-lined chestnut borer, tilehorned prionus, oak timberworm. Other pests are golden oak scale, gouty oak gall, horned oak gall, and basswood leafminer.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) Seeds and seedlings are commercially available from forest seed companies.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Moderate
General Type Tree
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Moderate
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Mid Spring
Displays Fall Colors Yes
Shape/Growth Form Single Stem
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intolerant
Height When Mature 100
Vegetative Spread Slow
Flower Color Yellow
Flower Conspicuousness No
Fruit/Seed Abundance Medium
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Fall
Seed Spread Rate Slow
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Seed
Moisture Requirements Medium
Cold Stratification Required No
Minimum Temperature -23
Soil Depth for Roots 28
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 4.5–6.5 pH
Precipitation Range 36–36 inches/yr
Planting Density 300–800 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 28
Minimum Frost-Free Days 180 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance None
CaCO3 Tolerance None
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability Medium
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating None

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA