Silver Leaf Oak Tree
One of our absolute favorite evergreen oaks the Silver Leaf Oak Tree lives up to its name with its sage green leaves and gorgeous silvery white undersides that flicker in the wind, glow from the nearest streetlight and thankfully for us terrestrial creatures are best enjoyed from below! The Silver Leaf Oak hails from the always enticing sky islands of the Chiricahua Mountains of Southeast Arizona where it coexists with Arizona Madrone, Netleaf Oak and Yucca rostrata amongst many other favorites.
Silver Leaf Oak has proven itself easily hardy and very drought tolerant for us here in the Pacific Northwest and has great potential in many other parts of the United States. There’s even one growing in the Denver Botanical Garden! Which is at once amazing yet not all that surprising given that we’ve seen them growing all the way up to 8000’ in their native range, though at that elevation they become very multi-trucked and shrubby. Here in Portland they take on an excellent rounded shape with a straight trunk and grow rather quickly to about 35’ tall. Very drought tolerant but they will grow much faster with a few deep monsoonal summer waterings mimicking their natural precipitation in the Chiricahua’s though well-draining soil is recommended. Acorns are edible but on the smaller side and high in tannins. Given the gorgeous olive-like foliage of this species, its adaptability across a wide range of climates and quick growth rate it’s an outrage that this species isn’t more widely planted. As a street tree, a windbreak, a specimen tree, or wildlife habitat planting, the Silver Leaf Oak has sent its tap root deep into our hearts.
Latin Name: Quercus hypoleucoides
Site and Soil: Silver Leaf Oaks like 1/2 day to full sun and well-drained soil.
Hardiness: Hardy to at least 0F
Bearing Age: 2-3 years after planting
Size at Maturity: 20-35 ft. in height
Bloom Time: April
Ripening Time: August of the following year
Yield: 50+ lbs.
Pests & Diseases: Oaks are susceptible to Sudden Oak Death, a fungal disease that can kill entire stands of oaks, though we’ve not seen it yet in our area or on Silver Oaks
USDA Zone: at least Zone 6, possibly lower