This native oak is nicknamed the “handsome tree,” because of it willow-like leaves. The spear-shaped foliage appears in the spring with a light/bright green color, becomes dark green in the summer, and turns shades of yellow bronze-orange, yellow-brown and russet-red in the fall. Reaching mature heights of 40 to 60 feet and a canopy spread 30 to 50 feet, the willow oak is a large tree, but not as massive as many other oak species native to eastern North America. Old specimens in forests can reach 80 to 120 feet in height, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It sheds copious amounts of yellowy pollen from its male flowers in mid-spring as the new leaves emerge. The leaves mature to deep glossy green and range from 2- to 5-inches in length, but only 1/2-inch in width. The acorns, which are reliably produced every year, are small and brown, merely 1/2-inch in diameter or slightly less. The branching structure of this oak, as seen in winter, is attractive and even.
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