Regularity: Regularly occurring
Distribution and adaptation
Sawtooth oak is native to eastern Asia but was introduced into the eastern United States around 1920. The range of adaptation extends from Northern Florida west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma, northward through Missouri to New York and into southern New England. On exposed sites in the northern Finger Lakes Region of New York, it may winterkill. Sawtooth oak is winter hardy and can be grown in soils from sandy loam to clay loam. However, the best performance is achieved in deep, well-drained soils. It can also be grown on reclaimed surface mined land where favorable moisture conditions are present and pH is above 5.0.
For a current distribution map, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Website.
One year old seedlings should be planted 15-20 feet apart for maximum acorn production. In areas where multiple rows are used, the spacing should be no less than 20 feet apart. There should be at least 15 plants per planting for effective wind pollination. Site preparation consists of clearing the existing vegetation from an area at least 3 feet in diameter around the newly planted seedling. The seedling should be planted at the same depth it was growing at in the nursery. At the bottom of the hole, apply a handful of 10-10-10 or 18-8-3 fertilizer pellets. Cover the pellets with 2-3 inches of soil. Do not allow the seedling to come in contact with the fertilizer. Water and mulch immediately to conserve water and discourage weeds.
If planting by acorns, begin in the early fall. Plant acorns 3/4-1 inch deep. The seedlings should not be transplanted until they reach 12-18 inches in height.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Quercus acutissima
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).
Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)
‘Gobbler’ was released in 1986 by the Quicksand Plant Materials Center in cooperation with the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station, Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the Kentucky Division of Forestry. It was selected for resistance to insects and disease, wildlife food value, and growth form compared to similar use species. Plant materials are available from nurseries throughout the region.
To achieve desired results, keep competition to a minimum for 2 years. By this time, the seedlings should be well established. If growth is stunted, eliminate competition and apply a complete fertilizer.
Sawtooth oak seedlings do not do well in poorly drained soils or in areas subject to flooding. If under water for 24 hours in the summer, they will not survive.
This plant has been found to be resistant to disease and insect damage.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The primary use for this species is as a wildlife food source and cover. It is also a good shade tree.
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Quercus acutissima, the sawtooth oak, is an oak originally native to eastern Asia, in China, Korea and Japan. It is now also present in North America. It is closely related to the turkey oak, classified with it in Quercus sect. Cerris, a section of the genus characterised by shoot buds surrounded by soft bristles, bristle-tipped leaf lobes, and acorns that mature in about 18 months.
It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 25–30 m tall with a trunk up to 1.5 m diameter. The bark is dark gray and deeply furrowed. The leaves are 8–20 cm long and 3–6 cm wide, with 14-20 small saw-tooth like triangular lobes on each side, with the teeth of very regular shape.
The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins. The fruit is an acorn, maturing about 18 months after pollination, 2–3 cm long and 2 cm broad, bicoloured with an orange basal half grading to a green-brown tip; the acorn cup is 1.5–2 cm deep, densely covered in soft 4–8 mm long 'mossy' bristles. It is closely related to Quercus cerris, classified with it in Quercus sect. Cerris, a section of the genus characterised by shoot buds surrounded by soft bristles, bristle-tipped leaf lobes, and acorns that mature in about 18 months.
Synonyms include: Quercus acutissima var. depressinucata H. W. Jen & R. Q. Gao; Q. acutissima var. septentrionalis Liou; Q. lunglingensis Hu.
Distribution and habitat
The acorns are very bitter, but are eaten by jays and pigeons; squirrels usually only eat them when other food sources have run out. The sap of the tree can leak out of the trunk. Beetles, stag beetles, butterflies, and Vespa mandarinia japonica gather to reach this sap.
Sawtooth oak is widely planted in eastern North America and is naturalised in some areas; it is also occasionally planted in Europe but has not naturalised there. Most planting in North America was carried out for wildlife food provision, as the species tends to bear heavier crops of acorns than other native American oak species; however the bitterness of the acorns makes it less suitable for this purpose and sawtooth oak is becoming a problem invasive species in some areas and states, such as Wisconsin. Sawtooth oak trees also grow at a faster rate which helps it compete against other native trees. The wood has many of the characteristics of other oaks, but is very prone to crack and split and hence is relegated to such uses as fencing.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Exotic in N. America n. of Mexico.
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