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Quercus palustris

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Quercus palustris
Pin oak

Culture: This species has a faster growth rate than most oaks and is also easier to transplant. Although this species occurs natively in low poorly drained sites, it is tolerant of both wet and dry locations. One very specific requirement is the absolute need for acidic soils. When placed on even slightly alkaline sites, the leaves develop iron chlorosis and turn yellow to brown, depending upon the severity. Pruning of the descending lower branches is often required to provide clearance.

Iron chlorosis is the number one common cultural problem when this species is grown on alkaline soils. Although plenty of iron is present in the soil, it becomes unavailable to plants when the pH is above neutral. Treatment with iron-based sprays and insertion of iron implants in the trunk produce fair results at best. Acidification of soil below the tree is effective but difficult. A species with a similar appearance, Quercus ellipsoidalis, the Northern pin oak or Hill's oak, has fewer chlorosis problems and should be used as an alternative to pin oak in non-acidic soils.

Usage: The Pin oak forms a beautiful shade tree where the soil conditions are acidic. The uniform pyramidal habit and ease of transplanting has made this species a very common landscape species. The uniformity of its habit frequently results in its being used in long formal rows.

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