Plant Encyclopedia

Swamp White Oak

Quercus bicolor

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Swamp White Oak. Large tree with big green leaves

Discover More Information On Swamp White Oak

If you want to add a tree that will last a lifetime, the swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) makes an excellent selection. These low-maintenance native trees thrive for hundreds of years, and they provide your yard with some refreshing shade. The swamp white oak is an exceptional choice for many different spaces.

Plant Attributes

The swamp white oak features a rounded habit. The leaves are held erect on slightly upright branches. When the tree is matured, it grows to about 60 feet. Along with producing shade for your yard, it also provides some food for wildlife. This oak features two-toned lobed leaves. You will notice the shiny green color on the top and velvety white on the undersides. In the summer, the leaves shimmer in the warm sunlight. During the fall, those leaves turn a golden yellow. However, some of the colors can range from russet brown to harvest gold. In some years, your tree might even put on a display of oranges and reds. These color variations can change due to the geographic area and soil conditions. If you have a younger tree, the bark peels back to expose an orangish color during the winter.

Landscape Use

This swamp white oak is the ideal addition to your landscape. For those areas with plenty of room, use this oak in a mixed forest. These trees shine in an oak savannah or a wildlife food forest. You might have to wait to provide treats for the birds and animals. It can take about 20 years before any acorns are developed on the tree. Eventually, you will see 1-inch acorns on the long stalks. The acorns will be enjoyed by ducks, wild turkeys, deer, and squirrels. On mature trees, the acorns shed in September through October.

Along with that, the swamp white oak is an exceptional specimen plant. Make sure to plant a single tree on either side of your home to frame the building. For large properties, you can create an informal grouping for a spectacular focal point. Since it can tolerate moderate road salt levels, the swamp white oak is an excellent street tree in those colder climates. However, the heavy use of road salt can damage the tree. You want to plant these trees in neighborhoods with slow traffic. If you avoid those pitfalls, expect the tree to grow beautifully along the road.

Finally, the swamp white oak makes an outstanding choice in a rain garden. It can help to filter out runoff water from the street or nearby roofs. These trees slow down water to prevent storm drains from becoming overwhelmed during a heavy rainstorm.

Planting & Care

If you live in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8, this tree will thrive in your location. The swamp white oak adapts to a variety of conditions. For the best performance, it needs full sun. In some cases, it tolerates partial shade. This oak grows best in well-draining, slightly acidic soils. It is tolerant of moist and heavy soils. After it has established in your landscape, it can even manage those drought conditions. When the trees are young, your swamp white oak needs a moderate amount of water to help the roots establish.

You can prune these oak trees in the winter months when they are dormant. Young trees should be pruned to ensure a single leader and remove any crossing branches. By removing those lower branches, you can help raise the canopy as this variety develops into a mature oak.

Additional Information

Interested in

Swamp White Oak


If you are ready to add this long-living shade tree, please contact Arbor Valley Nursery. This fast-growing oak tree makes a great addition to your space. You can expect this tree to live for hundreds of years, and it is the perfect selection as a legacy tree in your landscape. The swamp white oak produces two-tone leaves with a distinctive lobed shape. These swamp white oaks grow in a variety of soils and conditions. From its summer green foliage to spectacular autumn colors, this white oak dazzles throughout the year.

With the help of Arbor Valley Nursery, you can bring this exceptional oak tree home. We have a large selection of plants, trees, shrubs, and grasses. Our team of experts will help you find the ideal choice for your next landscaping project. We are here to answer all your questions. If you want to learn more about this swamp white oak, please take a few minutes to fill out the contact form.

Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Tree
  • Watering Needs: Medium to wet
  • Botanical Pronunciation: KWERK-us BYE-kull-er
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Deciduous
  • Growth rate: Moderate
  • Average landscape size: 50-60 feet Height, 50-60 feet Width
  • Special features: Attracts squirrels/mammals
  • Foliage color: Green
  • Blooms: April
  • Flower color: Yellowish-green
  • Flower attributes: Insignificant
  • Garden style: street tree, lawn tree, woodland Garden
  • Design Ideas: Residential and parks, City parkway, Wide median, Restricted sites
  • Companion Plants: Rhododendron, fern, hosta


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