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Evergreen oak, a beautiful evergreen tree

Branches and fruits of an evergreen oak tree

Evergreen oak is one of today’s trendy trees, appreciated for its evergreen leafage and reasonable size.

Evergreen oak main facts

NameQuercus ilex
Family – Fagaceae
Type – tree

Height – 30 to 50 feet (10 to 15 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – well drained, rather chalky

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – April to May
Harvest – September-October

It’s a variety of oak tree usually found around the Mediterranean.

Planting evergreen oak

Evergreen oak is preferably planted in fall, before the first frost spells. The best timing is in the middle of November.

It is also possible to plant evergreen oak in spring if purchased in a container, but then you must be in a position to water it all summer long the first year.

Choose an isolated place, not too near the house because this oak can grow to be quite sizeable when fully mature. It is, however, on the smaller side for oak.

  • Evergreen oak needs sun to develop well.
  • Evergreen oak is perfect for seaside gardens, because it can cope well with sea spray.
  • Follow the planting advice scrupulously and favor cool soil.

Although evergreen oak growth is usually a slow grower, growth accelerates if planted in the appropriate manner and watered often.

To really speed up its growth, just cut off flowers in spring and acorns after that, so that all the sap and nutrients are directed towards your evergreen oak’s growth.

Pruning and caring for evergreen oak

Caring for evergreen oak

This is a tree that requires virtually no care at all, when correctly settled in.

For this to happen, you must ensure the best planting environment and regular watering over the first year after planting.

Pruning evergreen oak

Evergreen oak doesn’t need to be pruned, but it helps to remove dead branches regularly.

On the plus side, evergreen oak does cope very well with any type of pruning, so you can shape it as tall and as wide as you wish. Although you shouldn’t go about hatracking trees, this species won’t suffer from it in the least.

Since evergreen oak does have a very nice silhouette, do try to keep it while pruning.

  • Pruning evergreen oak is at the end of winter or in fall.
  • Never prune during freezing, or even if freezing might occur within the following days.
  • Also, never prune evergreen oak in summer when temperatures are high.

Learn more about evergreen oak

Evergreen oak, or Quercus ilex, is a species of the oak family, liked for its evergreen, cute-shaped, shiny leathery leaves that are dark green on the topside and whitish on the underside.

Evergreen oak is native to all around the Mediterranean area. Its hardiness, down to 5°F (-15°C) explains why it also survives along the Atlantic coast.

When not in the Mediterranean area, it will definitely need a lot of sun.

A common presence in scrublands together with juniper and Aleppo pine, evergreen oak also helps stabilize sand dunes along the Atlantic coast. Indeed, its powerful root system lets it dig deep for water. It is thus very good at reinforcing fleeting, crumbling soils such as dunes and gravel-like slopes.

In places like Corsica, evergreen oak acorns are fed to pigs which gives local meat a distinctive and famous taste.

Lastly, evergreen oak is also is also used to grow truffles.

Diseases and parasites infecting oak

Evergreen oak is particularly resistant to most diseases, insects and pests. It has an incredibly long lifespan, in some cases estimated to be over 1,500 or even 2,000 years.

  • Oak processionary – Treating against these is difficult for tall oak trees. There are treatments against oak processionary caterpillars.
  • Foliage covered with white – It is most probably powdery mildew.

Smart tip about evergreen oak

Evergreen oak is ideal to hide yourself from your neighbors, without climbing so high, but check local regulations because it must usually be planted at least 6 ½ feet (2 meters) from the property marker.

Evergreen oak with acorns

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Fruit-bearing branches by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Evergreen oak against dark background by José Manuel de Laá under Pixabay license
Acorns (also on social media) by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Acorns on branches (also on social media) by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
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  • Anne Thompson wrote on 24 June 2024 at 18 h 14 min

    I have a wall at the bottom of my lane with about 30 ft longth and 25 feet wide of clay.
    I would like to plant Quercus ilex evergreen oak in the middle of the clay. But someone said the roots would distroy my wall.

    I am trying to plant trees native to Ireland.

    Thanks for your help