Mexican White Oak

The Mexican White Oak is native to Mexico, Guatemala and Texas—just barely. The only known population within the U.S. is found along the Devil’s River in Val Verde County. This species, Quercus polymorpha, is not to be confused with the more well-known White Oak species, Quercus alba. The Mexican White Oak is a fast-growing shade tree with an average lifespan of 100 years. It has only been recently discovered in the U.S.

Common names: Monterrey White Oak, Netleaf White Oak

Mexican White Oak leaves and acorns
Photo: Kenraiz Krzysztof Ziarnek. CC 4.0

Species Details

  • Canopy: Broad and round
  • Leaf: Semi-evergreen, smooth, 2 to 5 inches long, varied in shape and color, usually with serrated edges. New leaves in the spring are bronze to pinkish in color, turning bluish green. In the summer, the smooth surface can develop a downy-like texture.
  • Bark: Dark to light gray.
  • Flower: Both male and female flowers appear in the spring.
  • Bloom time: March, April, or May
  • Fruit: Acorns up to 1 inch long, appearing after the first year.
  • Height: 40 to 60 feet
  • Spread: 30 to 40 feet
  • Trunk diameter: Up to two feet
  • Growth rate: Up to 4 feet per year
  • Hardiness Zones: 7-10
  • Light requirement: Sun or partly shade

Reasons to Plant a Mexican White Oak

A native to Mexico, the Mexican White Oak is extremely drought tolerant. It adapts well to various well-drained soil types. This makes the tree an excellent choice for an urban landscape. In addition, the tree has few known disease and pest problems.

Propagation

The easiest way to plant a Mexican White Oak is to obtain an acorn and bury it. To better your chances at rapid growth, bury the acorn in neutral to alkaline soil pH. While the fast-growing tree needs little care, fertilizer and proper watering techniques (specific to the species) will help increase the growth rate.

Management

Mexican White Oaks need minimal care. Unlike other oaks, they produce little deadwood, and so require less frequent pruning. While fairly resistant to known diseases and pests, the species is susceptible to oak wilt.

Oak wilt is a very destructive tree disease affecting all oaks. It is caused by a fungus. For more on oak and how it is spread, please see the Texas Oak Wilt website.

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Krista White
Krista is a member of the marketing and education team at Tree Shepherds. A lifelong learner, she loves writing about anything from Hemingway to Quercus macrocarpa.