Water Oak Tree
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Water Oak Tree - Quercus Nigra
The Water Oak Tree is a medium sized oak tree from the red oak group. This oak can grow up to 100 feet tall with a 3 foot trunk diameter. Water oaks, which are mostly found in the eastern and southern-central U.S. are found in all coastal states anywhere from New Jersy to Texas, and as far inland as Oklahoma, Kentucky and even Southern Missouri.
As a young tree, the water consists of a smooth, brown bark. As the bark ages, it will turn gray-black with rough scaly ridges. The leaves will remain on the tree until about mid-winter. Leaves can be 1 to 5 inches long and 1/2 up to 2 inches broad. They can vary in shape but most commonly take shape of that of a spatula in as they are broad and long at the top and narrow and wedged towards the base. These trees are easily identifiable by their leaves, as they have a lobe that it has the appearance as if there is a drop of water is hanging from the leaf's end.
The top of the leaf takes on a bluish green hue whereas the bottom is a more pale blue green. The bottom of the leaf also has rusty colored hairs which run along the veins. Acorns from a water oak can be single or in pairs. These acorns will mature at approximately 18 months after they have been pollinated in the fall of their second year.
Water Oaks are able to thrive well in a wet, swampy area. They are also able to tolerate well drained sites and even areas with heavily compacted soils. Because a Water Oak is able to grow and reproduce quickly, it is normally on of the more abundant species in a strand of trees. This oak has a relatively short life span in comparison to other oaks, living only 60 to 80 years.
Water Oak acorns are a source of food for the white tail deer, the grey squirrel, raccoons, wild turkeys, mallards, ducks and quails. Water Oaks are known to be used in the southern sates for timber and fuel dating back to the 17th century. The Water Oak has a tremendous potential in its adaptability.