anyone tried Quercus acuta in my area?

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)June 5, 2013

I've seen some pics of Quercus acuta, the Japanese evergreen oak...and I'm curious if anyone in the zone 6/7 mid-atlantic has successfully grown one?

I like the evergreen oaks, and I know Q. laurifolia (really semi-evergreen) grows well here, but usually drops leaves before winter's done with. I've seen Q. virginiana but only at the National Arboretum.

Would it or Q. virginiana itself be hardier & more likely to survive here or the Q. acuta?

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davidrt28 (zone 7)

I don't recommend it. I've seen a mature one somewhat damaged by 0F; OTOH a mature Quercus mysinifolia nearby was completely undamaged. The former may be more attractive as a small to medium sized specimen, but they are probably similar when full grown.

Woodlander's strain of Lithocarpus henryi is generally hardy to below 0F (they are seedlings, YMMV) and some would say it is more spectucular than either Quercus.

I hope you're young or are planting for the next generation: none of these will look like much until 20 years have passed. Q. myrsinifolia is definitely the fastest, but is kind of coarse and rank looking when young. I wish someone would cross Q. mysinifolia X Q. virginiana, that could be interesting; a slightly hardier, slightly faster growing live oak.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 12:55PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

I'd rank them:

Lithocarpus henryi (best clones have survived -15F)
Q. myrsinifolia
Q. virginiana (hardiest clones)
Q. acuta
Q. virginiana (most tender clones)

There were semi-mature Q. virginiana at Hill's Nursery & Camellia gardens in Arlington; I'm not aware of any mature Q. acuta in the DC area tho there could be one at the Nat. Arb. If Mr. Hill is still alive he'd surely discuss this with you and might even have one to sell you. The most interesting plant in that garden was to me, the Q. X turneri graft from Belgium, planted in the late 1950s, and still quite small. Could be the only plant of that in the entire country: I believe the rest are all seedlings and not quite the real thing.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 1:00PM
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Hairmetal, I have had success with Live oak "late drop" from Mossy oak natives nursery. winter 2012-2013 The same tree spring 2013. This past May.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 10:38PM
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I never tried Q. Acuta, but wanted to show you about the "Late drop" Quercus Virginiana in the pics above. They even survived a late frost with damage and the second frost I sprayed the leaves before sunrise with no damage. The trees are cheap too, but you have to spend at least $20 some odd dollars. I have 2 more of them that survived this past winter also. that's one this is another. I wouldn't think your zone 7 would be too cold for them, my last winter was brutal in sustained 20's and teens a few single digits too. They seem more vigorous than the other live oaks I have Quercus Fusiformis.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 10:49PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

We're really on the edge of 6/7 per the maps, but recent winters are more a solid 7. It was about 3 below here (per my thermometer at home, it was 2 above that night at BWI airport) in Jan. 2009, but that's by far the coldest I've seen since moving here in '07. We've hit single digits a couple other times.

This past winter we never got below the lower teens, but we had one week-long cold stretch (highs stayed below freezing, lows teens to low 20s) & a colder than average Feb & Mar.

The one thing though, I think, regardless of climate change, your opinions on it, the cause, think that we'll simply never again have a winter like '77, '85, '94, or '96 is just foolish.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 10:22AM
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I am not in the mindset that they will definitely live indefinitely, but I am hoping they do. I have a white oak close to the first live oak in the top pictures and I will not cut it down until this Live oak lives a couple more years at least. The live oak is about 3 or 4 ft from the white oak up against the shed. I figure if the live oak survives a couple more winters I will have to get rid of the white oak.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 12:10AM
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Just want to add, you would have better luck with the oak I mentioned if there is a regular live oak close to you not protected. I do agree I am prematurely celebrating these 3 live oak "late drop" doing great this past winter, and may be thinking foolishly, but I was so happy when they releafed this spring twice,because of frost, I may have to be disappointed some year, but these are possible backcrosses and may indeed be zone 6 hardy, which we haven't seen much of. I know it's possible it may die in zone 6. I will have to risk trying it if I want to see if it will grow here.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 12:21AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Great question!

Have you seen the large Q. acutas at the US National Arboretum? Gorgeous trees, but very low-branching. Would take a bit of training if you want to mow or walk under them. Also they show a bit of sapsucker damage.

Everything I've read says acuta is hardy to zone 8, but after seeing how well they are doing at arboretum, I'm thinking zone 7B is probably more accurate. They're so uncommon that they probably haven't really been tried much further north.

That said, i'm growing up a few seedlings. I keep them in the garage over winter, but one I 'pot-planted' into a protected area last winter showed no damage at all. We got down to maybe around upper single digits for a low.

I love the look of acuta and it reminds me of a Ficus benjamina.

I also have Q. virginiana, Q. myrsinifolia and Q. phillyraeoides (Ubame oak) in my yard and all are doing reasonably well. Q. virginiana really grows fast when small.

I think mysrinifolia looks to be the best bet for zone 6B. BUT I've not seen a lick of damage on phillyraeoides and it really has a handsome leaf. You should consider that one.

I'd stay away from Q. glauca. Just a bit too tender.

LIthocarpus is hardy but is such a course-looking tree. To me at least.

Where are you located? I have a nice potted myrsinifolia I need to get rid of.

This post was edited by dave_in_nova on Fri, Jun 7, 13 at 10:50

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 10:49AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Would you say Q. fusiformis > Lithocarpus henryi?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 11:47PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

It would be interesting to see the Q. acutas at National Areboretum. I can almost guarantee you they will have some foliar injury, no matter how mature.

Not sure what you are asking, hairmetal. Ultimate size? Hardiness? Texas has bad freezes every couple decades but is generally a warm, sunny climate in winter. When I was there after the big 2011 freeze, though Washingtonias & other palms were damaged it was already in the 60s the next day. OTOH Lithocarpus henryi comes from somewhat northerly and/or elevated parts of China, in places that have longer, colder albeit generally very stable winters. (but it surprises me that this city has been as low as -20C: it shows that, while arctic outbreaks are less common in China, because of the Siberian high, they can happen.) My guess would be the hardiest strains of Lithocarpus henryi would be both hardier in an absolute sense and hardier to prolonged cold spells, which, we learned this winter in a big way, matters a great deal in some cases.
I just have a Woodlanders seedling L. henryi and the parts above the snowline are showing no particular damage. Of course I don't have any other evergreen oaks to compare. But I'm sure a run of the mill seedling of Q. virginiana or Q. ilex, for example, would be severely injured by the weather we've had since Jan 1. I might have a chance to swing by the Howard County Lithocarpi (LOL) this spring, and I will report on how they are doing. At least some of them survived -15F in 1994.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 5:32PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I just meant hardiniess in my post.

David - when did you get your henryi from Woodlanders? I don't see it on their website...only a different Lithocarpus species.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:04AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Given the hardiness of Lithocarpus henryi, if I could only have 1 evergreen oak as far north as DC, it would be that one. Nova Dave said somewhere he thought they were too coarse looking, and I guess it's a matter of taste but to me all of the evergreen oaks look better when fully grown. (though to varying degrees, certainly Quercus virginiana is better looking than most when it is small) A big Lithocarpus has a very stately, bold, subtropical appearance.

Woodlanders depends on a couple local trees as their source of acorns and like many oaks I presume in some years they don't produce well. If you call and ask I'm sure they will be happy to let you know when they next expect to offer them. Just don't act like an impertinent yankee.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 3:00PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

following up:

The Lithocarpus henryis at the National Arboretum (there are at least two) are somewhat tropical looking, but do look somewhat 'course' to me. All that said, I may try to find a place for one in my yard. LOL!

The arboretum may have gotten their Q. acuta trees from a colder provenance, like South Korea, but who really knows? You'd have to contact the arboretum to find out.

Next to the Arboretum's acutas there is a grand specimen of Q. salicina that doesn't seem to show damage.

Q. glaucas have shown a lot of damage from past years.

Now, I've not been out there since this past winter from hell. It would be really interesting to see how the salicinas and acutas have done.

In my yard after this winter, I'm seeing some leaf damage on myrsinifolia and virginiana and bronzing on phillyraeoides, but there doesn't appear to be any twig dieback. Won't really know until maybe april or may.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:26PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Checking in - Dave in NOVA - did your evergreen oaks all make it?

Davidrt28-did you ever get to check on how the Howard County lithocarpus were?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 11:36PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA


My three Q. virginiana trees weathered this winter like troopers. I don't see any twig damage. All have leafed out.

Q. mysinifolia in the back defoliated partially but is now leafed out. My Q. myrsin in front had no damage.

Q. phillyreoides (I can never spell that one) has a bit of twig damage high up.

Lithocarpus seedlings in pots sunk in the ground under a frost cloth-covered frame had no damage whatsoever.

Various Q. acuta seedlings also sunk in ground under the frame had some minor twig damage.

Red Bay defoliated and it looks like it had to regenerate new buds. New growth seems smaller.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:58PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Interesting Dave because your results are to some degree the opposite of what I saw at the UDel arboretum. Their Q. mysinifolia was undamaged, the Q. virginiana had very bad leaf burn. (but twigs probably ok) Their Red Bay was undamaged.

Proof overall, I guess, that these things are "borderline, but essentially hardy" this far north. Given what a cold winter we had and all.

hairmetal, I haven't been to that part of Howard County but I'm sure they are fine.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 7:42PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Davidrt28 - got your email message - thanks.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 9:49AM
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