Oak trees have been a long time favorite tree for the staff of Finke Gardens. Our experience with a wide variety of oaks has dispelled the long believed myth that they are slow growing trees. It has been over 10 years since we learned about the threat of Emerald Ash Borer. We recognized how important it was to offer a diverse palette of trees as alternatives to the widely planted ash trees, and oak trees fill the bill as ash replacements for their durability and attractive leaves.
Nebraska’s most recognized native oak, Bur Oak is a majestic spreading tree with corky bark that protects it from weather, fire and animals. Bur Oak isn’t as slow growing as many people think – we find when planted right, mulched well and watered regularly, it can grow 1 to 2 feet a year.
This is a native oak from southeastern Nebraska, and a great specimen is growing in our front landscape. “Dwarf” is relative – here the 15 year old tree is easily 25 to 30 feet tall. It is extremely tough – the glossy green leaves with silver underside provide great drought tolerance. Yellow fall color.
Quercus x ‘Nadler’
Considered one of the tightest form of upright oaks, Kindred Spirit is expected to grow 30 feet in height, and just 6 feet wide. It is a hybrid of upright English oak and Swamp White Oak, and is resistant to powdery mildew that often occurs in English oak. Lustrous dark green is beautiful.
Overcup Oak may well be one of the most worthwhile but under-planted trees out there. Its name comes from the cap which almost completely covers the acorn. The most noteworthy characteristic is its tolerance of wet soils. In fact, it is native to river bottoms and is often found growing in standing water. Grows 50 to 60 feet high and 40 to 50 feet wide.
Quercus robur ‘Long’
This is a hybrid oak that takes its glossy foliage and adaptability form Swamp White oak and narrow upright form from the upright English Oak parent. We love the lustrous green foliage and the very tidy habitat that makes it perfect for smaller residential sites and narrow screens.
A large tree growing to 50 to 60 feet in height, Swamp White Oak is widely planted for its tolerance of both wet and dry soils. The leaves are dark glossy green. A large planting of this oak can be seen along 33rd Street south of “O” Street in Wood Park. It’s a very handsome planting of durable shade trees.