Quercus phellos, willow oak

This SE North American red oak is renowned for its very narrow, small leaves which turn yellow-russet in autumn. A great shade and ornamental tree to about 15m for acidic loams and clays south and east of the Divide–whether alluvium or well drained– tablelands and upland districts.

The tree is also good for:

  • wet sites in mountain or upland gardens as this tree grows well in seasonally wet and acidic soils
  • for wet, alluvial soils of clay and loam, yet proven in Canberra on their tight upland clays
  • frost hardy to at least -10C
  • is upright and pyramidal when young; becomes more domed with age
  • the deciduous leaves are narrow, entire willow-like lanceolate and limp, 1-2cm x 10cm
  • leaf colour is green, young leaves are yellow
  • slender and upright branches
  • moderate to fast growth on 600mm or more rainfall
  • very good shade is moderate to deep
  • acorns are small, falling every year or second year
  • the bark is smooth and silver-grey, blackening and rougher with age
  • for parks, streets and gardens
  • fast to moderate growth
  • great fire break species


Tree shape

Upright, somewhat pyramidal

Mature size

Medium 8-12m

Growth rate



Feature ornamental, colour, shade, versatility

Soil type

All soils, good in loamy clays


Moist soils


Narrow, entire


SE North America