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Growing Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

Consider the North American native Chinkapin oak when selecting a shade tree for your landscape. This relatively fast-growing oak attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and other birds to the landscape.

This member of the white oak group grows 40-50’ tall and wider in the landscape. The name chinkapin refers to the shape of the leaves that resemble the North American native chestnut tree often called a chinkapin.

The leaves are dark green above and dull green below. They turn yellow, orange-brown, or purplish gray in fall. Sweet acorns form each year and are a favorite of some birds and small mammals. These need to be processed properly before you can eat them.

Chinkapin oak is tolerant of alkaline, sandy, and rocky soils. Grow this zone 4 to 8 hardy tree in full or part sun and well-drained soil. Once established, it is drought tolerant.

A bit more information: The Chinkapin oak’s straight wood was used as fence posts by early pioneers in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. The wood also fueled steamships and was used as railroad ties in the Midwest.

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