Quercus pubescens

Common Name: downy oak 
Type: Tree
Family: Fagaceae
Native Range: Southern Europe, Asia
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 40.00 to 60.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellow green (male) Reddish (female)
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 5-8 where it is best grown in rich, moist, well-drained loams in full sun. Grows well in sandy loams. Tolerates some part shade but not full shade. Unlike most species of oak, this tree grows well in hot dry summers.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Quercus pubescens, commonly called downy oak, is a medium sized deciduous tree which typically matures to 40-60’ tall with a broad open-rounded but somewhat irregular crown and softly pubescent twigs. It is native from Spain through southern and central Europe to the Caucusus and southwestern Asia. Obovate to elliptic leaves (to 4-5” long), each with 5-8 pairs of veins, are concentrated in branched clusters at the branch ends. Leaves are dark green above and pale gray-green beneath, with both surfaces being covered by a minute pubescence particularly on young leaves. The amount of pubescence varies considerably among different populations. Leaves typically have wide-rounded apices, 4-8 pairs of rounded lobes with deep or shallow sinuses, and rounded to subcordate bases. Russet fall color. Acorns (to ¾” long) typically appear in groups of 2-5. Cups are light gray to near white with overlapping scales covered with tomentum. Ornamentally insignificant monoecious flowers (females in clusters and males in dangling catkins) bloom in April-May. Female flowers are followed by small ovoid acorns (to 1” diameter) in groups of 2-5. Each acorn is enclosed within a scaly cupule (cup) made up of adpressed, gray-white tomentose scales. Cup typically covers about 1/3 of the acorn. Acorns ripen in September-October.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for oak trees.

Specific epithet from Latin means covered with hair in reference to the tomentose twigs and leaves.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Oaks in general are susceptible to a large number of diseases, including oak wilt, chestnut blight, shoestring root rot, anthracnose, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, galls, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils.

Garden Uses

Shade tree. Woodland gardens.