Sawtooth Oak Growth Examples

samnsarahSeptember 5, 2010

Can someone give me an example of how fast a Sawtooth Oak tree grows? I am looking for actual examples, not rate of growth. If you have planted one or know someone who did, how many feet did it grow in five years, ten years, etc. Also, how long did it take it's crown to spread out?

I have read that it is the fastest growing oak tree in its youth, but that doesn't really tell me anything, since it can live over 300 years.

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poaky1

I have one that was 5 ft when I bought it and is on it's 2nd year in my yard. It is now 7 ft and is starting to spread outquite a bit already, approx 3 ft wider than when planted, sorry I have no digetal camera, it's pretty good at getting that established look quick like pin oaks do. You know the good widening of the trunk and width of spread.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 9:06PM
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gardningrandma

I've seen them grow rapidly from acorn stage to a 10' tall thicket. I don't know if that's what you're looking to learn about but a park planted some b&b sawtooth oaks about 10 years ago. They were planted on top of a hill. They drop a lot of acorns and at an early age and when these acorns roll down a hill into a ditch, they germinate and there is a nasty thicket of them that's looks like it would be impossible to rid of. These are commonly planted by people wanting to lure game but if that wasn't your aim, and if you didn't need the exotic look that they provide, I would suggest planting something else.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 8:59AM
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esh_ga

This is a non-native oak, not sure if that matters to you. Some of the native oaks are faster than most people realize.

Here in Georgia, oaks like Quercus rubra, Quercus coccinea and Quercus palustris are good examples of faster growing native oaks.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 10:41AM
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samnsarah

Thank you for this information. It sounds like the only advantage to planting a sawtooth oak is that it produces acorns quicker than any other oak. I guess I don't really see that as advantage unless I am interested in feeding the squirrels.
Anyway, if I plant an oak tree it may be a red oak or a pin oak. I read that pin oaks grow up to three feet a year.
I would plant a nuttall oak, but a local forester told me that nuttall oaks will not grow well during the dry summers in South Central Kansas.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 1:12PM
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gardningrandma

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) is the fastest growing oak that I am aware of and one of the fastest growing trees you can get. They're relatively easy to transplant and have nice fall color and big big leaves for shade that is unparalled from other oaks. You'll be much happier with red oak than sawtooth oak. And yes nutall oak is more ideal for wet locations. (They're native to the mississippi delta region) Sawtooth oak is weedy and while it does look unique, it isn't really anything to write home about, especially in the fall color department. Their heavy crop is more of a liability. Like you said, squirrels will gather the acorns and bring them into natural areas where they can sprout and take over an area much like I described before.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 1:45PM
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samnsarah

I am not too concerned about fall color. In S.C. Kansas many trees that are supposed to turn red, do not because of our warmer autumn weather. I am more interested in fast growth, tall trunks, and absence of surface roots. The Red Oak seems to fit the bill, but I am also considering the American Sycamore. There are dozens of sycamore trees around my area and none of them have produced surface roots, and they can grow up to six feet a year. I won't be planting this tree near any sidewalks or foundations, and I don't mind raking leaves or picking up bark and small branches off my lawn. (I actually enjoy that type of stuff.) I even thought about trying to plant a couple of American Sycamores from seed.
Anyway, I am still pondering all of this, but all of this information has been extremely helpful. Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 3:03PM
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gardningrandma

Sycamore is just about as fast growing as they come. Dawn redwood is another one where 4-6' per year can be expected when established.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 8:52PM
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gandle(4 NE)

Sawtooth oak certainly couldn't be considered invasive in south west central NE and is fast growing with nothing spectacular in fall color Our fastest growing oak is Q. robur, English oak, there again no good fall color but very fast growth.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 9:01PM
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alabamatreehugger(8)

Cherrybark Oak is one of the fastest growing oaks, but like the Nuttall it prefers moist areas.

The ideal oak for Kansas would likely be the native Bur Oak (very drought tolerant), but they don't gow quite as fast as some of the others.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 11:56PM
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samnsarah

If I plant an oak tree it will probably be either a red oak or a shumard oak. I just found out about the shumard today. A co-worker has one in her back yard, and it is growing approx. 2 feet per year. Not bad for an oak tree. Plus it turns red-orange in the fall.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 1:43AM
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gardningrandma

red oak is better IMO and faster but shumardi is nice too.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 9:20AM
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lucky_p

As are most of the opinions voiced here, it's 'painting with a broad brush', but in my 15-20 years of propagating & selecting oaks, in MY growing conditions, on MY farm, bur oak far outstrips ANY member of the red oak group in rate of growth - typically puts on 2-4 ft of growth annually, in 2 or 3 'flushes' during the growing season, for at least the first 10-12 years.
Granted, they don't put on much of a show, so far as fall color is concerned, but with their large glossy leaves, corky bark, and rugged silhouette, they're GREAT the other 50 weeks of the year. The big low-tannin acorns, with ornate frilly caps are an added benefit. And, they don't hold a bunch of dead brown leaves all winter long.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:53AM
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samnsarah

It's interesting that you say the burr oak grows 2-4 feet annualy. Every forestry, extension, and horticultural site that I have visited all claim that the burr oak is a slow growing tree, with approx. 1 foot of growth per year.
What growing conditions do you have there? If I knew for sure that the burr oak would grow that rapidly, I wouldn't hesitate to plant one, since they are native to Kansas.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 12:08PM
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lucky_p

Karst topography, Pembroke soil type, ~ 500 ft elevation, 194-day growing season, avg. 50.6" precip.

Bur oak is native to the area, though it's quite uncommon; growth rate is a little less than pecan and black walnut of same age on riverbottom sites; on droughtier, upland site(my yard), it far outpaces northern red, pin and scarlet oak. Maybe it just 'senses' that I like 'em better than the red oaks, but they both get the same degree of neglect.
Provenance does play a role as well. Mid-western(MO, KS, IN) seedlings have been the best performers here, but TX, OK, and AL-origin seedlings have been quite vigorous; seedlings from acorns collected in more northerly climates - NY, IA, ID, Manitoba, etc., have been slower-growing and seem likely to take longer to make a sizeable tree.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 6:20PM
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spruceman

I second what lucky says. There are lots of factors--soils, climate, provenance, etc.

Here near Winchester, VA my exhibit A on how the common ideas about which oaks grow the fastest are often wrong, is the forestry section of the local counties soil survey booklets. On soil after soil--maybe not all--the 50 year growth of white oak and red oak are rated exactly the same. That is, on the better soils, 80 feet.

The eastern white oak in my view is the finest oak of all, and it would be my first choice. But I love bur oaks, and I have seen them, as lucky says, put out two or three growth flushes per year. Added together, that can be rather fast growth. But, again, as lucky says, not all bur oaks from different sources will perform the same.

--spruce

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 9:48PM
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alabamatreehugger(8)

Lucky, I have a few of those Auburn bur oaks growing here in my yard, but they put on about 12 inches per year. My white oaks and swamp chestnut oaks have grown twice as fast as the bur oaks. I'm thinking maybe bur oak just doesn't like the coastal plain soil down here.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 11:29PM
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restorephoto(5 (central Indiana))

Here in z5, the squirrels plant quite a few burr oak seedlings each year. Of those that I've let grow, I'd guess they're growing nearly 2' per year. Three that are all about 15' tall produced nuts for the first time this year. Interestingly, only one of the half dozen I've got (none over about 15' tall) has the corky branches. And the branches on that one are VERY corky.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 7:10PM
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samnsarah

I have already decided against the Sawtooth oak tree. If I plant an oak it will probably be a Shumard oak. Thanks for all of the helpful information.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 9:46PM
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gardenall(8)

Out of all I have heard about sawtooth oaks I cant belive nobody has any pictures. I have seen a few large ones but I dont know how long it took to grow.I have heard great things about them for wildlife reasons.I am going to give them a try.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:08PM
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samnsarah

The Sawtooth Oak is not a "bad tree." Some people tend to think that any tree that is not native to the U.S. ia an invasive species, but that is just not true. The sawtooth produces LOTS of acorns that germinate much more quickly than other acorns. But if you had one in an urban or rural backyard that you mowed and tended pretty well, then the sawtooths agressive acorn production shouldn't be a problem.
However, having said that, there are faster growing native oak trees available that I would recommend over the sawtooth. I say this after exstensive research. I would recommend the Shumard oak for drier climates and the Nuttall oak for wetter climates. They both grow faster than the sawtooth, based on my research and the people who I interviewed who own both.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:46AM
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gardningrandma

There are no bad trees, only bad locations.

In the south and mid atlantic, sawtooth oak has become a pest plant. Both in rural and suburban settings. If trees only stayed within the confines of one's yard they wouldn't be invasive. It's the ones that get carried by squirrels, birds, or go rollin down the river to somewhere they germinate- a natural area miles away from the parent tree.

If you are trying to attract wild turkey so that you can hunt them, sawtooth oak will get the job done. If you are trying to restore natural habitat sawtooth oak is not what you'd want to use because there's a good chance the heavy crop will end up creating a management problem for you and you'll regret it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:56AM
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gardningrandma

... and if you're wanting a nice lawn tree, sawtooth oak is a pain in the butt. Huge mess. And they aren't all that pretty.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:57AM
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samnsarah

Good points, gardningrandma, thank you. I forgot about the squirrels and the birds carrying the acorns to different locations.
However, I don't know if I agree with you abut the sawtooth being ugly. I guess it all depends on what a person considers a nice looking tree. For example, I think that the sawtooth has nice foliage in the Summer, but I also think purple leaf plum trees are ugly except when they bloom in the Spring. But that's just me. :-)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 10:22AM
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gardningrandma

I didn't say they were ugly but there are oaks that offer more in terms of shade, form and fall foliage.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 1:51PM
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gardenall(8)

I am planting for deer and turkey on my farm far away in the woods.So I think this sounds good to me.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:14PM
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gardningrandma

Then you'll have more turkey and deer than you'll know what to do with.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 10:15PM
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samnsarah

I assume that you're a hunter, gardenall. If so, the more deer and turkeys you can attract, the better. :-)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 10:30PM
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gardenall(8)

correct...I hunt deer, but also like to veiw all types of wildlife.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 4:53PM
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gardningrandma

IF you want to lure game, sawtooth, the exotic weedy oak is one way to do it. If you want to create a diverse wildlife habitat, you'll stick with native trees (or other plants) that are found growing in your area that depend on such and such habitat.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 9:48AM
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gardenall(8)

You are correct I am only planting a small area for sawtooth and the rest is going to be native trees and such. The sawtooth will be planted in one area in rows so I can work around them.I will clean around them with a tractor to keep any competition growth down as sugjested.This will be only about an acre of sawtooth and I think those acorns will be eaten verry fast.If any were to seed most would already get cut with my tractor.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 8:18PM
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samnsarah

I read on the U.S. Department of Wildlife and Parks that the acorns from the sawtooth oak are not as popular with deer as the acorns from the white oak, red oak, and bur oak. The reason for this is because the sawtooth oak acorns are rather bitter in taste. Acorns from the white oak are sweeter.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 9:35PM
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gardenall(8)

That is true .I would prefer white oaks over any other out there .THEY ARE THE MIGHTIEST OF ALL TREES(in my opinion)I am going to plant some of them. The only problem is it takes at least 20 and up to 50 years before these oaks and a lot of other oaks will make acorns.That is the reason I think the sawtooth is popular.Water oaks is the oak in my area that grows fastest out of all the native oaks.I will be planting some of these also.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 10:30PM
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samnsarah

Awesome. Well, I hope all of your trees do very well and that you can attract a whole array of wildlife.
The other day I told my nature-loving daughter that hunters are among the best conservationists, and I still firmly believe that.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 5:54PM
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hoseman

The sawtooth oak is a native of China. I planted one in 2001 and it is a beautiful tree. I had seen two growing at a local nursery as part of the nursery landscape. It has been very fast growing and a very hardy tree for a fast grower. Since I planted my sawtooth oak I have seen them growing in a botantical garden, so I expect they are considered a specimen tree. I did have a mite problem with it one year, but no major concern. The leaves brown and do tend to stay on the tree over winter, so if you don't like the noise of dried leaves blowing in the wind, don't plant it too close to the house. I have not seen any problem with the acorns, in fact it has sparse in its production of acorns. The tree is much taller and about the same size in gird as two pin oaks planted about the same time. It makes a beautiful tree.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 10:20PM
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alabamatreehugger(8)

Unless your land is extremely dry, I recommend trying Swamp Chestnut oak, some of mine have grown nearly 3ft in one year. Also, when they get mature they have very large sweet acorns. Fall color isn't too bad either.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 12:25AM
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goldenstick

I planted my sawtooth trees here in East Texas about 10 yrs ago. They were 6 ft when I planted them and now they are 30 ft or so. Believe it or not, they have not produced one single acorn yet (15 trees) maybe this year they will produce. I planted them for wildlife. More than half of them have been used by beavers but sprouted back. I only have about 15 left out of 50 but they are nice trees now with wire around them to keep those river rats off them.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 11:24PM
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poaky1

I've read that they don't live long, it was in an article of a hunter whose dad planted them to lure game. I cut mine down, I'm not a hunter and had heard many negatives about it as a landscape tree. It would've been bad where I had it. If you have a good bit of room in full sun, well drained soil, try Quercus Prinus ( also called Quercus Montana )Chestnut oak mine is 7-8 years old and full of acorns. With good moisture and full sun mine has grown really fast, in spite of it said to be a slow grower. I know there are drought conditions now in Texas but it is drought tolerant after it gets established. If you can water till then. Hopefully the drought will stop soon. Then again if you have beavers your soil may not always be well drained. If you browse on Oikos tree crops and Mossy oak natives nursery websites you may see something worth trying, they have some they've bred for early yeilds.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 8:13PM
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goldenstick

I did see those hybrid oak trees at Oikos. I was just unsure if they would grow in Eastern Texas, although you can grow just about anything here. Only negative thing I read about those hybrid oak trees is that occassionally you will get a dud. But I guess that goes with any fruit bearing tree. I may have to order a few and give them a try. After the drought of course. No water in the creek these days which keeps the beavers away

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 10:56PM
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samnsarah

I went away from the sawtooth oak not because it has been accused of being invasive, nor because of it not being a native species, but because I just don't have the room for it. The sawtooth oak gets to be a big tree, and I don't think my neighbors would appreciate having to rake acorns from my tree out of their yards. A coworker of mine has one she planted approx. seven years ago. It is already over 30 feet tall with a spread of over 12 feet. I know that some may cringe at what I am about to tell you (especially if you live in TX or CA) but I planted a Chinese Pistache tree. Here in SC Kansas it hasn't shown itself to be invasive. I would have planted a Shantung Maple 'Firedragon' but the CP was more affordable for me to plant.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 8:43AM
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