some dwarf oaks

Submitted by penstemon on Fri, 11/25/2011 - 08:04

Oaks from acorns collected by Allan Taylor. These are some of the ones that were grown on as plants at Timberline Nursery in Arvada, Colo.
First is Quercus vaccinifolia collected on Scott Peak in (I guess) the Siskiyous.
Second was labeled "unknown quercus" (a label like that, and it's mine ....). It's clearly Q. vaccinifolia crossed with Q. chrysolepis.
Next two are Q. undulata x Q. arizonica.



Submitted by DesertZone on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 20:37

Very cool, I love the western oaks.

Submitted by penstemon on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 20:48


I love the western oaks. 

Me too. I talked to Allan Taylor earlier this year and kind of whined about not having Quercus grisea, and when I visited his garden, he handed me a very nice one, a couple feet tall.
I also have one of his, from acorns, from collections in SW Colorado, NE New Mexico, and the Oklahoma panhandle, labeled "Short Pants". I asked him, "Short Pants?  Is this a town in Oklahoma or something? As in, 'I"m the sheriff here, and we don't cotton much to strangers in Short Pants.'"
Didn't get much of a response. I realized later that maybe it was, maybe, short plants.
His garden is pretty stunning, and, even though he doesn't know it, I consider it the model Colorado garden. Desert plants and rhododendrons.

Most, if not all, of these oaks seem to be strongly mycorrhizal and prefer growing in plain dirt with as much water as falls from the sky. Half a year with no rain at all, and they just keep growing.


Submitted by Weiser on Tue, 11/29/2011 - 07:11

I've never tried western oaks. the only one I'm very familiar with is Quercus gambelii. Bob do you have a short list or advice on what I should be looking for?

Submitted by Hoy on Tue, 11/29/2011 - 10:41

I am also interested in oaks. At the moment I grow only one American (Q rubra) but are interested in trying other types. However, it is difficult to get fresh acorns. They have a short shelf-life.
The smallest specimen I grow is the semi-evergreen Q. x turneri (a cross between ilex and robur). I have had it for 20 years but it is still 1m tall. I have one evergreen oak, Q ilex. It is a nice shrub here with leaves similar to Ilex aquifolium.

And of course I grow the two native ones, Q. robur and Q petraea. These two hybridise a lot and can be difficult to tell apart but neither are they dwarf!

Submitted by penstemon on Tue, 11/29/2011 - 14:33

Three pictures. First, taken in the front yard in the blindingly bright sun, shows two Quercus undulata, one "big", one little (in front,with a stake, it's hard to see).
Then, Q. turbinella. Last, Q. grisea. The last two are semi-semi-evergreen.
They're not really dwarf in the sense of being small enough to grow alongside Androsace mathildae, but a maximum of 3 meters, and they don't cast very much shade. They grow very slowly with just natural precipitation.


Submitted by cohan on Sun, 12/18/2011 - 23:59

Very cool! No Oaks in my immediate area, native or foreign.. I think there is one that grows somewhere in the province, would love to get seed of that.. and I think I saw some (no idea on species) newly planted in Edmonton before I left many years ago..
I wonder if any of these southern alpine spp would be hardy enough for a try here? Though if seed is short lived, unlikely it will turn up on a list for me to try... I'll just admire Bob's  ;D

Submitted by Lori S. on Mon, 12/19/2011 - 06:20

Burr oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is your best bet; it's an eastern oak that ranges west into eastern Saskatchewan, and is planted quite a bit as an ornamental across the prairies.

Submitted by cohan on Tue, 12/20/2011 - 12:43

Lori wrote:

Burr oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is your best bet; it's an eastern oak that ranges west into eastern Saskatchewan, and is planted quite a bit as an ornamental across the prairies.

That's doubtless the one I was thinking of, I had it in my mind it made it to southern Alberta, but probably thinking of something non oak..

Submitted by Tony Willis on Tue, 12/20/2011 - 15:55

I thought you might like to see this one which is common across the south of Turkey


Submitted by RickR on Tue, 12/20/2011 - 18:34

And well adapted to a dry climate, it would seem.

Thanks, Tony.