WHAT: The handsome narrow leaves and strong stately branching habit make of the willow oak (Quercus phellos) is the reason its called the queen of the oaks.
The unusual foliage does not look like a typical oak. The deep green and leathery leaves are very narrow with a paler underside adding a slight shimmering quality.
WHY PLANT IT: It is a large elegant classic shade tree and an excellent climbing tree with strong wood. It is quite supportive of the average treehouse.
WHERE: Willow oak is extremely tough and tolerant of poor soils and harsh urban conditions and will thrive in full sun.
Plant it in a location with well-drained soil, although it will tolerate sandy sites and clay if the drainage is adequate.
SIZE: A 10-year-old woody plant or a 5-year-old perennial or bulb will reach 25 feet high with a spread of 18 feet.
Little pruning is needed other than removing dead, broken or poorly formed limbs.
LEARN MORE: Great Plant Picks at www.greatplantpicks.org.