Do you follow Doug Tallamy? This one’s for you! Per the Native Wildlife Federation Native Plant Finder, 477 species of butterflies and moths use Quercus as a caterpillar host plant: https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/Plants/2804
Popular and long-lived shade tree with a wide-spreading rounded crown and numerous horizontal branches. Straight trunk with light grey bark. Twigs slender to stout, gray to reddish green with star-shaped pith. Light green, round-lobed leaves turn burgundy in fall and remain on the tree into winter. Insignificant yellowish-green flowers in separate male and female catkins appear in spring shortly after the leaves emerge. Oval acorns with warty-scaled cups.
Attracts birds, butterflies.
Adapts to a wide variety of soil conditions with good drought tolerance.
Please do not spread mulch under your native trees. Instead, create soft landings, which are plantings of native plants (think Carex sp., Tiarella, Packera) that grow among the leaves that you are leaving. Soft landings provide critical habitat for Lepidoptera and other beneficial insects who need to complete one or more stages of their life cycle on the ground. See Heather Holm’s website for more detail and great graphics on keystone species and soft landings: https://www.pollinatorsnativeplants.com/softlandings.html
Per an article by Ellen Sousa and Russ Cohen, “The leaf-enriched soil under oak trees is also ideal for cultivating other native woodland edibles that grow best in this fungally-rich environment, including nannyberry and hobblebush.”
Height: 50-80 ft.
Spread: 50-80 ft.
Bloom time: May
Sun: full sun
Water: dry to medium
According to Rutgers University, Quercus sp. are “occasionally severely damaged” by deer.
photo credit: Dcrjsr