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Engelmann Oak
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Quercus engelmannii
  

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About Engelmann Oak (Quercus engelmannii) The Engelmann Oak, also called the Mesa Oak, is a beautiful rare oak native to Southern California. Suburban sprawl has eliminated these oaks from the majority of its native range. Most remaining trees are located in San Diego County, with small remnant populations in Pasadena, central Orange County, southern Riverside County, and Baja California south of Tecate. It is a moderately fast growing tree, reaching up to 20 meters tall, and up to 30 meters wide. The trees are generally evergreen, but may be drought-deciduous during the hot, dry local summers. They have an upright form when young, but older specimens often have spectacular gnarled trunks and winding branches. The bark is thick, furrowed, and light gray-brown. The leaves are leathery, 3-6 centimeters long and 1-2 centimeters broad, of a blue-green color, and may be flat or wavy, with smooth margins. The flowers are cylindrical flower clusters; the fruit is an acorn 1.5-2.5 centimeters long, maturing 6-8 months after pollination. It's generally found in mesas, savannas and woodlands above the dry coastal plain, but below the 1300 meters (4200 feet) elevation where colder winters prevail. It typically grows up-slope from Coast Live Oaks. One of the most spectacular remaining stands of these trees are in the Engelmann Forest near Lake Dixon in San Diego County.

Englelmann Oaks are beautiful but can be tricky. They like dry soil, but do best and stay green year round if near a damp or irrigated area, or where they can get their roots into the groundwater. If drought stressed, they'll often go summer deciduous. They need plenty of room to grow. They prefer full sun, and tolerate a wide range of soil types.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Tree

Max. Height
59 ft (18 m)

Max. Width
90 ft (27.4 m)

Form
Rounded

Fragrance
None

Growth Rate
Moderate

Dormancy
Evergreen, Summer Semi-Deciduous

Flower Color
Cream, Green

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter


Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Gentle rocky slopes, grassy mesas with plenty of ground water or just upslope from riparian woodlands, most often as the dominant species in Englemann Oak Woodland. Also found in conjuction with chaparral or valley grassland.

Sun
Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
2' - 6555'

Annual Precip. ?
10.4" - 34.9"

Summer Precip. ?
0.22" - 3.00"

Coldest Month ?
39.6° F - 56.7° F

Hottest Month ?
63.5° F - 80.7° F

Humidity ?
1.07 vpd - 31.07 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils including deep loamy-clay soils and shallow rocky soils

Soil Texture
Clay Loam, Loam

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Drainage
Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 30° F

Sunset Zones ?
3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22, 23, 24

Companion Plants
Often found with Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia). Understory plants include Sages (Salvia species), native grasses, and perennial or annual wildflowers. Where adjacent to riparian woodlands, its associates include willows (Salix species), Cottonwoods (Populus species), and California Sycamore (Platanus racemosa).

Wildlife Attracted
A wide variety of wildlife is attracted to oaks. Many insects are attracted to Oaks generally, including the following butterflies which use Oaks as host plant: California Sister, Propertius Duskywing, Mournful Duskywing, Golden Hairstreak, and Gold-Hunter's Hairstreak.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Low
Moderate - High


Popularity
Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
2x/month
No Summer Water
1x/month
2x/month
3x/month
1/week
Keep moist


Mulch
Deep Organic

Pest Control
Somewhat more resistant to diseases than other oaks

Propagation ?
By acorns.  For propagating by seed: Fresh seeds sow in fall outdoors or stratify to hold for spring sowing. (USDA Forest Service 1974).

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Mesa Oak


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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