Product: Chinquapin / Chinkapin Oak
Scientific Name: Quercus muehlenbergii
Full Grown Size: Height of 40–50′ and a spread of 50–60′ at maturity.
Lifespan: Between 150 and 250 years.
Soil condition: Acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils.
Light Requirements: Full sun
Water requirements: New plantings need water each morning for the first two weeks and 1 to 2 gallons of water every other day for the next two months. Cut back to once per week for the remainder of the growing season. Skip a day or two if the soil is muddy.
USDA Zones: Hardiness Zones 4 through 7.
In this oak variety there comes two main sub species: the dwarf variety, which is commonly shrubby and low bearing, and the non dwarf variety which grows in a tall upwards fashion. The two species often thrive in different habitats. The Dwarf Chinkapin Oak prefers calcareous soils and rocky slopes, while the Chinkapin Oak is generally found thriving in acidic substrates, sandy soils, and dry shales. Well drained soils are what this tree thrives and survives in.
When looking at a lineup of oak trees, it is to single out a Chinkapin Oak simply by looking at its leaves, and the color of its bark. The leaves of this tree have pointed and jagged teeth, and the bark is gray and flaky with subtle yellow to brown hues (hence the occasional name “yellow oak” for this tree).
The flowering habit of a Chinkapin Oak is generally in late spring to early summer. Because this oak is monoecious, the staminate flowers are borne in catkins that emerge from leaf axils of the previous year, and the pistillate flowers develop from the leaf axils of the present year’s leaves. The acorns on this tree take about one year to fully mature and typically ripen in the late summer to early fall month. They are easy to spot on this tree as they are a deep brown to near black color.
One can find Chinkapin Oaks flourishing in both northern and southern states, but more commonly in the south where climates are warmer year round. This tree is rarely found in high elevations or mountainous areas.