COMMON NAMES: VASEY OAK, SCRUB OAK, SHIN OAK
BOTANICAL NAME: Quercus pungens var. vaseyana (KWER-cus PUN-gens)
Fagaceae (Beech Family)
HEIGHT: 20 to 40 feet
SPREAD: 20 to 30 feet
FINAL SPACING: 15 to 20 feet
NATURAL HABITAT AND PREFERRED SITE: Vasey oak is native to far west Texas. Seems to do the best in dry canyons and creeks. Grows well in the limestone soils but will adapt to a wide range of soils including normal landscape situations.
IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION: Small, compact native tree with small leaves that are gently lobed and wavy edged, short tips on the edges. It is almost evergreen and has the smallest leaves of all the shin oaks. Looks like a small live oak but has a lighter colored almost silvery bark.
FLOWERS AND FRUIT: Flowers are monoecious – separate but on the same trees. Male flowers are longer than the female flowers as with all the oaks. Fruit is annually produced acorns that will be solitary or in pairs.
BARK: Light gray to silvery and scaly.
FOLIAGE: Leaves are half evergreen, alternate, small usually ¾ of an inch to 2 ½ inches, ½ to ¾ inch wide. Upper surface grayish-green to dark green and shiny, lower surface generally paler and hairy, smallest leaves of all the shin oaks.
CULTURE: Vasey oak is an easy to grow tree, needs minimum amounts of fertilizer and water. Can grow in alkaline soils but adapts to deeper, sandier, more acid soils as well.
PROBLEMS: Main problems with vasey oak is finding specimens in the nursery industry to buy. Hopefully that will increase. Overwatering can also be a problem, needs positive drainage.
PROPAGATION: Done by acorns planted immediately after they have released from the tree in the fall.
INSIGHT: Excellent small tree, should be used for landscaping considerably more than it is currently. Species name pungens means “prickly” referring to the short abrupt tip on the leaf edges.