Willow Oak Tree in Memphis Tennessee - Fall 2019


I spotted a few of these trees outside of a corporate campus building in Memphis recently and they struck me as a pretty nice shade tree.  The leaves were falling - and are long, non-traditional-Oak-tree-shaped.  Check one out here:


This is from the same site as that cloud-like hedge of Boxwoods that I posted about earlier this month.

It thrives in Tenneessee, but what about Illinois?  Zone 5B?  Not sure.  The Missouri Botanical Garden team lists this tree suitable down to Zone 5, but also includes this note:
Trees or seeds for the St. Louis area should come from northern sources because there is some question as to the winter hardiness of this tree throughout USDA Zone 5.
This tree has a couple of features that I can see people being drawn to:  it is shaped like an Oak, but has the leaves (above) that are Willow-like.  Oh...and it grows fast - something you can't say about most Oaks.  From Missouri Botanical Garden:
Quercus phellos, commonly called willow oak, is a medium to large, deciduous oak tree of the red oak group that is noted for its oak shape, willow-like leaves and relatively fast growth rate.
I don't think I've seen them sold around us, but I did find this listing from Nature Hills Nursery that shows all of Zone 5 being covered.  And it also includes this little note about a famous fan:
Well known as a favorite of Thomas Jefferson, when young the Willow Oak grows in an elegant pyramidal habit. With age, it becomes somewhat rounded with age. The trunk is straight and stout, adding to its majestic appearance in the landscape.
I'm thinking this is now on my 'tree dreaming' list and maybe I'll pick one up online and give it a try next Spring.

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