One of the West Coast’s most handsome native broadleaf evergreens, the tanoak tree grows in the coast range from Southern Oregon down to Southern California. The name comes from the tannins in the bark that were once used to tan cow hides. Trees can grow in full shade to full sun and are extremely drought tolerant once established. The “acrons” drop in late summer and can be eaten if the tannins are leached out but the jays and squirrels usually get to them first. Very handsome tree, it is a mystery to us why this isn’t a more common tree in our cities and gardens.
Latin Name: Notholithocarpus densiflorus
Site and Soil: Tanoaks needs 1/2 day to full sun and extremely well-drained soil.
Hardiness: Hardy to at least 0F
Bearing Age: 3-5 years after planting
Size at Maturity: 20-40 ft. in height
Bloom Time: May-June
Ripening Time: August
Yield: 30+ lbs.
Pests & Diseases: Notholithocarpus 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.
USDA Zone: at least Zone 6, possibly lower