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Fastigiata English Oak

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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’
FAMILY: Fagaceae

This tree in Colorado Fastigiate English oaks originated in Europe, and have been seen growing in most Colorado front range communities and Grand Junction.

Hardiness Zones 4 to 7

Growth habit Height to 45 feet with a spread of up to 15 feet. Strongly upright and columnar shaped tree that will spread as the tree matures and lateral branches get larger.

Foliage Single pointy needles encircle the stem. Usually grow at right angles to the stem. Needles are stiff and prickly when grabbed, which gives this tree a unique identifying characteristic. Needles have a acid taste when chewed. Oblong shaped leaves with rounded lobes up to four inches long. Leaf color is a deep forest green. Leaves turn brown in the fall and can persist on the tree through the winter.

Flowers Small and not showy.

Fruit Fruit is an elliptical acorn up to one inch in length.

Bark Dark brown and slightly furrowed.

Twigs Young twigs are greenish-brown but mostly hidden by dense leaf cover.

Insects and diseases Pests include aphids and on a rare occasion scale.

Cultivars There are numerous cultivars in the nursery trade. Some are hybrids of white oak (Quercus alba) and English oak (Quercus robur). Some cultivar names are; Crimson spire, Skyrocket, Attention.

Landscape value This is a unique tree because of the tight columnar habit. It would be useful in planting strips or medians that are up to 25 feet wide. The form also makes it a good tall screen tree. It is tolerant of heat and most Colorado soils. It has performed well in Colorado, but it is not commonly sold so local availability may be an issue. If you are looking for this columnar growth habit this tree far superior to Lombardy poplar, which is a short-lived columnar tree with pest issues. The cultivar requires a large open space in order to develop fully, and so is not recommended for small home grounds.

Information sources
Michael Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (University of Georgia, 1990)
Nursery catalogs that sell into Colorado