Adaptation: Swamp white oak occurs in a variety of soils (from silty clay to silt and sandy loams) in swamp forests of river bottoms, streamsides, depressions, borders of ponds, lakes and swamps, and moist peaty flats. It also occurs on moist slopes and poorly drained uplands, at elevations of 0-1000 meters. Swamp white oak grows best in full sun in moist to wet, deep, acidic soils. Development of a 2-layer root system allows it to grow well in areas that are flooded in spring but markedly dry in summer.
Young trees of swamp white oak are tolerant of light shade but become more characteristic of full sun with maturity. Swamp white oak usually is a minor component of the forests in which it occurs, perhaps depending on local disturbance for release into the canopy. Stands of elm-ash-cottonwood will convert to oak-dominated stands that include swamp white oak. White oak forests (of which swamp white oak is a component) will progress towards hickory and beech forests if undisturbed.
Flowering occurs in May–June, during early development of the leaves, while fruiting occurs in August–October.
General: Seed production in swamp white oak begins at 20–30 years. The greatest production occurs between 75–100 years; good seed crops are produced every 3–5 years. The acorns have no dormancy and may germinate the same season as ripening and falling. The maximum age for trees of swamp white oak is 300–350 years.
Swamp white oak can sprout from the stump or root crown if damaged or top-killed.
Swamp white oak can be transplanted or propagated from seed. Young plants from containers and young trees in ball-and-burlap are best planted in early spring. Bare-root transplants also are best done in the spring, but these may be difficult because of the strong and rapid development of the taproot.
Acorns are capable of germination as soon as ripe and must be collected for storage shortly after falling from the tree. They retain viability in storage for only a few months, especially if allowed to dry, and should be stored over winter in a cool, moist place at 1–4 C. Germination frequency may be enhanced by stratifying 30–60 days at 1–5 C., but stratification is not required for germination. Acorns planted in the fall in permanent positions give the best results.
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