Monday, December 29, 2014

Daimyo Oak - Quercus dentata

Q. dentata in Larry Conrad's Garden
Quercus dentata is a beautiful oak ranging through China, Japan, and Korea. Common names include Daimyo Oak, Japanese Emperor Oak, and Korean Oak.  It features some of the larges leaves of any oak, up to 12 inches long and 7" wide in cultivation with reports to 20"x7" in the wild where the tree grows to 70 feet tall and nearly as wide. In cultivation it is a slow growing species, reaching 8-10 feet in 10 years.  

In the garden it prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil in partial to full sun.  Adequate moisture in summer and fall is important in maintaining health and vigor of the tree.  Habit is irregular, especially as a young tree and proper pruning will help give the tree good shape for the long haul.  Hardiness is easily zones 5-9, and very likely hardy to zone 4 as evidenced by specimens grown by Larry Conrad.

Leaves as mentioned are large and broad, with shallow lobes, pinkish with soft hairs as they unfurl changing to dark glossy green.  Fall color is a russet and like many oaks leaves will persist through the winter to fall off in spring.

Q. dentata in Larry Conrad's Garden

The species is represented in cultivation with two cultivars.  The first, 'Carl Ferris Miller' was apparently selected for having improved hardiness and vigor. Other attributes are similar to the species. It was propagated from a plant collected in Korea in 1976 by Robert and Jelena De Belder of Hemelrijk, Belgium.  Named for American-born South Korean banker, arborist, and founder of the Chollipo Arboretum in Taean-gun, South Chungcheong Province, South Korea,

The second cultivar is an amazing cut-leaf selection called 'Pinnatifida' and features deeply lobed leaves, cut nearly to the mid-vein.  Leaves are just as large as the species, though much more delicate looking.  Fall color is the same russet, growth rate is slower than the species.  This variety is unlike any other oak I've seen and is quite amazing.


Q. dentata 'Pinnatifida' in Larry Conrad's Garden
These are both quite rare in the trade and definitely worth adding to your gardens.  We carry both varieties here.  Due to their slow growth they're best thought of as small accent trees, though it's wise to give them the space to grow large.

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