COMMON NAMES: SAWTOOTH OAK, CHINESE OAK
BOTANICAL NAME: Quercus acutissima (KWER-kus ah-cue-TISS-eh-mah)
FAMILY: Fagaceae (Beech Family)
TYPE: Deciduous shade tree
HEIGHT: 50 to 60 feet
SPREAD: 30 to 40 feet
FINAL SPACING: 20 to 40 feet
NATURAL HABITAT AND PREFERRED SITE: Native to Korea, China and Japan but will grow well in Texas in the sandy soils that are neutral to acid pH and deep. This tree is only good in the deep acid, sandy soils of East Texas and neutral soils in other areas.
IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION: Sawtooth oak is an upright growing deciduous tree. Has a pyramidal form when young but becomes more rounded with maturity.
FLOWERS AND FRUIT: Male and female flowers are separate but on the same plant (monoecious). Male flowers are rust colored, hang from terminal growth in early spring. Female flowers bloom singly or in small clusters. Fruits or acorns about 1 inch in diameter mature in two seasons.
BARK: Light gray to brownish, smooth when young but developing and irregular almost diamond-shaped pattern with shallow furrows as the tree matures. The bark texture never becomes extremely rough.
FOLIAGE: Leaves are simple, alternate, serrated 3 to 7 inches long, 1 ½ -2 inches wide, medium to deep green, yellow to dull brown in the fall. Brown foliage remains on the tree throughout the winter and only falls after the buds begin to expand and push the new foliage out in the spring. Leaves of the sawtooth oak can be confused with the Chinese chestnut whose leaves are broader and have longer teeth at the leaf margin.
CULTURE: Sawtooth oak is an extremely fast growing oak when in deep moist soils. Responds well to fertilization and moisture but is fairly drought tolerant. It is not tolerant of the alkaline soils especially when white rock is near the surface.
PROBLEMS: Chlorosis caused by nutrient deficiency in alkaline soils. Unfortunately sawtooth oak is not that well adapted to the black and white soils of north Texas. This Chinese immigrant is a beautiful, fast growing trees for sandy, acid soils but suffers in the heavier soils. if you have planted one of these, all you do is use the Sick Tree Treatment and use lots of compost throughout the root zone.
PROPAGATION: From acorns planted immediately after they are released from the fall.
INSIGHT: I have also seen this tree sold mistakenly as chinkapin oak. Chinkapin oak can grow in a wide range of soils. This tree cannot.