[Image: willow oak]
We are now at the time of the year ideal for shade tree planting in Louisiana. Oaks are one of our most popular landscape trees. Most of us are very familiar with the Southern live oak, but we have an abundance of other oak trees – largely deciduous – that are recommended for Louisiana. The willow oak (Quercus phellos) has been named a Louisiana Super Plant for fall 2013.
Deciduous oaks (those that lose foliage in winter) common in Louisiana are water, shumard, Southern red and willow. Willow oak is a slow- to moderate-growing oak with finer-textured foliage and makes a very nice landscape tree. Willow oaks are being used in commercial and residential landscapes around the state and have good adaptability to soil types. Most oaks, including willow, prefer a slightly acid soil pH.
Willow oaks have a moderate growth rate and have an average mature height of 60 feet. Spread will be about 30-40 feet at maturity. The canopy is great for street plantings and where a where columnar, tighter-growing oak is needed. The foliage is a unique characteristic of the willow oak – fine textured. Leaf litter debris is not a major concern.
November through January is a great time to plant a tree!