Northern alternative similar to the Live Oak

kelly922April 10, 2012

We live in NJ and while we can grow many types of Oak trees I just love the branching pattern of the Live Oaks which are indigenous in the south and are only hardy to zone 7. Does anyone know of a tree with similar branching pattern that would survive up here? Obviously doesn't need to be evergreen - thanks!

:-)

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lcadem

I share your plight. I have been looking for that architecture everywhere. It seems to me the only thing that could come close would be a quercus macrocarpa, robur or cerris (maybe aesculus hippocastanum) but you'd have to wait 100-200 years before getting anything close to what a live oak in the south can do in 40-50.
The best compromise in the north, for me, seems to be the platanus acerifolia, it grows fast, and if cared for correctly can develop branching similar to that shown by live oaks.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 8:48AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

What particular aspect of the branching are you referring to? The broadness?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:59PM
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smivies

Q. macrocarpa never struck me as a particularly broad spreading tree. Big, absolutely, but with generally ascending branches.
Q. robur is better with large horizontal branches. Q. alba, Q.x bebbiana, and Q. stellata also have broad crowns with large horizontal branching (when grown in the open on a good site). Bebb's oak would be my favorite for both ultimate size and growth rate.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 3:09PM
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sam_md


If you hurry you might consider planting a Sugar Maple, add 170 years, and there you have it. Notice the graceful, downswept branches. No, this is not my home :)
Instead its the Cylburn Mansion in Baltimore.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:32PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

You might look at shingle oak as an alternative, Q. imbricaria. Similar leaf, can be broad spreading. Acorns are similar but not as long; more stubby. I'm in 6B and mine is happy...
hortster

Here is a link that might be useful: Shingle oak

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:56PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Nice maple. Notice how much of the impressiveness is produced by the branches sweeping to the ground, instead of the head being perched on a bare trunk.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 8:30PM
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sam_md


Pictured here is a favorite of King Solomon, he liked it so much he built his temple out of it. Local legend has it that the lady of the house brought this one back from the Holy Land in a shoe box @ mid-1800's. By retaining lower branches downswept habit is accomplished not unlike Live Oak.(sorry, no Spanish Moss)
Hampton Manor nr Baltimore

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 8:58PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Sam, your maple is nice!
But trust me, the shingle oak wants to "low branch" like many others of the Quercus spp. Adjacent to our public library a Q. imbricaria is MUCH broader than tall, but it has been constantly lifted for pedestrian and auto traffic, as has mine so as to mow without ducking! If I didn't have mowable turf I would have let it branch to develop even more trunk taper.
In my view it is a northern live oak substitute...
hortster

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 9:22PM
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poaky1

I have seen pictures of lots of trees with those downward sweeping up branches. There is something different about the Live oak upper branches that is unique too. The arrangement of the large branches spiraling into different directions and angles. I am trying to find the northern Equivalent also. I think the Quercus Fusiformis is the closest match there is. I have 1 tree into it's 2nd year here in zone 6 and it's retained it's leaves. There are pictures on yahoo image search, it gets pretty big in favorable places, just not as big as the Q Virginiana. Just about any oak can come close especially Shingle and Willow oaks, I just think that the Quercus Fusiformis comes the closest in form and texture, it's evergreen BTW even if that isn't a needed trait. Also check out the hybrid Comptons oak. It's a hybrid Overcup oak x Live oak. I have 3 of them, but they're still small.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:25PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Quercus phellos?
Quercus hemisphaerica?

Depending on where you are in Jersey...these may just be hardy enough to thrive up there.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 11:26PM
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sam_md


Hi Horster,
Pictured here is a young Shingle Oak at Barnes Arboretum in Phila. You and I know that the dominant feature of this species is retention of foliage during the winter.
If anyone has pics of mature S.Oak pls post them especially wintertime pics.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 1:25PM
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lcadem

For those of you who are disparaging the breadth of Bur Oak here is a good one :-)

cheers to everyone!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bur Oak

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 6:23PM
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lcadem

By the way, where can I get a Bebb Oak?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 6:29PM
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smivies

Bebbs Oak (& many others) at Oikos Tree Crops.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bebbs Oak

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:03PM
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kelly922

Wow - thanks for all your suggestions! I've got a lot to consider now. Much much appreciated :-D

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 9:18AM
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j0nd03

I also have a post oak with a large branch that starts about 15' or so up on the trunk but the majority of it runs along the ground. I have also seen this on another oak in town. My only point is this feature is not necessarily limited to a couple oak species but perhaps consistent within a broader range of the genus quercus if the right conditions are present.

Nothing is a perfect replacement for an old live oak, though IMO.

John

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 9:30AM
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lucky_p

'nother bur oak photo from our friend Guy Sternberg

Here is a link that might be useful: Bur oak

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 10:16AM
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poaky1

The shingle oak is next to the car. I know hard to see.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 1:49AM
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poaky1

It isn't really shaped live oak-y but up close it kinda reminds you of it. Quercus Alba may be the closest in shape when really old, of the deciduous. I have a book called "tree" author is Balog, it shows a really old q. alba and it has alot of massive spreading limbs. That book also shows the national champion Quercus Fusiformis in Deal or Real county Rio Frio, Texas. The Shingle oak in the picture lost most of it's leaves by December, it must keep them when young only. The young Shingle oak in the picture a few posts up reminds me of pin oak in form.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 2:02AM
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smivies

Quercus x bebbiana (alba x macrocarpa) may be the best zone 5 Q. virginiana alternative....if you've got 100 years to wait.

That said, there was also a perfectly healthy 12' Quercus macrocarpa x virginiana at the arboretum. Completely deciduous and I don't know what the leaves look like but surely a mature tree is going to bear some resemblance to Q. virginiana.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:15AM
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