Willow Oak

Quercus phellos


This is a large oak with narrow leaves, a bit reminiscent of a willow tree. But unlike a willow, it has strong branches and deep roots. This tree grows fast, has lush bright green foliage, and can do well in low or moderate water, even in a lawn. The leaves turn yellow, orange, and red in the fall for a short time. Acorns of this oak are button sized. It is native to the Eastern U.S.


Note that any tree grown in a lawn may develop surface roots unless irrigation is properly managed. Tree roots need both air and water in the root zone. Lawns are frequently overwatered, resulting in water-logged soil with no air in the root zone. Check your tree’s root zone to see if it is water-logged or too dry. The best method is to dig a small hole about 12 inches deep and look at the soil: if it is bone dry, there is not enough water; if it is muddy, there is too much water; if it is moist like a cake, it is just right. Alternatively, you can use an inexpensive moisture meter from your nursery or hardware store and look for a “moist” reading.

Willow Oak

Height: 60 to 75 feet
Spread: 50 to 60 feet
Growth Rate: fast

Irrigation needed: low to high water
Fall Color: yellow / orange / red
Flowers:  inconspicuous
Seeds/Fruit: small acorns (3/8 inch)

Planting Distances
Front of green utility box: 8 feet
Building, paving, swimming pool: 20 feet
Fence, underground utilities: 6 feet
Overhead, high voltage lines: 30 feet

Willow Oak in Fall
Young Willow Oak in Fall