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As the name suggests, this oak is found growing wild in low-lying and swampy areas — often moist bottomlands or river banks. But it grows just as well in an urban or suburban setting, with tolerance to compacted soil and (perhaps surprisingly) drought. A great choice for a shade or street tree, with the ability to grow at a moderate pace and live more than 300 years. It’s the kind of tree you plant for not only your enjoyment but for the benefit of generations to come.


Plant Characteristics:

50-60’ tall, easier than most oaks to transplant.


Prefers 6+ hours of sun.


Average to wet soil, tolerates compacted soil and poor drainage as well as drought, once established.


May develop chlorosis if soil is too alkaline.


Yellow-green flowers in April-May.


Acorns in late summer/early fall.


Produces fall color in shades of yellow, bronze, and red-purple.


Wildlife Value:

In central Ohio, oak trees serve as host plants for 477 species of lepidoptera, including the gray hairstreak butterfly and duskywing skipper.  The myriad other insects it supports create a buffet for woodpeckers, warblers, flycatchers, and other insect-eating birds.  Wood duck, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, white-breasted nuthatch, blue jay, common grackle, rusty blackbird, brown thrasher, red-headed woodpecker, and red-bellied woodpecker eat acorns, and many of these same species also nest and roost in nooks and crannies of oaks.


Medicinal, Edible and Other Uses:

Acorns, which supply eight essential amino acids, have been eaten as a staple food on four continents.  They contain digestive inhibitors (tannins and phytic acid) that prevent absorption of the nut’s minerals. Native Americans soaked, sprouted, or fermented the nuts to reduce the tannins and phytic acid. 

Oak, Swamp White, Quercus bicolor

SKU: 132
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