Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Although it primarily grows in dry, rocky soils in the wild, it seems to prefer moist fertile loams in cultivation. Relatively good drought tolerance. May take up to 30 years for this tree to bear a first crop of acorns.
Quercus muehlenbergii, commonly called Chinkapin (or Chinquapin) oak, is a medium sized deciduous oak of the white oak group that typically grows 40-60’ (less frequently to 80’) tall with an open globular crown. It is native to central and eastern North America where it is typically found on dry upland sites often in rocky, alkaline soils. Insignificant monoecious yellowish-green flowers in separate male and female catkins appear in spring as the leaves emerge. Fruits are small oval acorns (to 3/4” long), with scaly cups that extend to approximately 1/2 the acorn length. Acorns are valued food for a variety of wildlife. Narrow, oblong-lanceolate, shiny green leaves (4-7” long) have coarse marginal teeth. Leaves somewhat resemble the leaves of chestnut (Castanea) whose nut is sometimes called a chinquapin, hence the common name of this oak whose acorn is sweet and edible. Also sometimes commonly called yellow chestnut oak. Fall color is variable, but usually undistinguished shades of yellow and brown.
Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for oak trees.
Specific epithet honors Gotthilf Henry Ernest Muhlenberg, 18-19th century Lutheran minister-botanist from Pennsylvania.
Oaks 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. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, chinkapin oak is generally considered to be a low-maintenance, long-lived tree.
A shade tree for large lawns or parks. Uncommonly cultivated.