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Gambel Oak
Fagaceae
Quercus gambelii


lorincook
lorincook

Fagaceae Family

Quercus Genus

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General Information


Habitat: Dry slopes, chaparral,
Blooming period: March to May

Three oaks are native to Utah and all are more or less shrubby. The largest and most common oak in Utah and throughout the Rocky Mountains is Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii), also known as scrub oak. This large shrub to medium-sized tree is native to fairly dry lower mountain slopes (USDA hardiness zones 4-8). It grows in clumps, forming dense, pure stands that present a fire hazard as fuel accumulates. It can be successfully managed or planted in cultivated landscapes. The other two native oaks, shrub live oak (Quercus turbinella) and wavyleaf oak (Quercus undulata), are small evergreen shrubs that are only native to the warmer portions of southern Utah.

Gambel oak is commonly called scrub oak, but other common names are Rocky Mountain white oak and Utah white oak.Gambel oak is a common, native species on
the lower elevation foothills in many parts of Utah.
It is a fire-adapted species because of its ability to grow back quickly from root sprouts after a fire kills
the tops. The plant requires full sun and is adapted to dry, rocky sites and alkaline soils. Once established, Gambel oak is quite drought tolerant. It
is cold hardy in USDA hardiness Zones 3-9 and well adapted to the Wasatch Front which is mostlyin Zone 5.
Gambel oak is usually a shrub or a small tree with an average height of 20-30 feet and width of 15 feet. The plant rarely reproduces by acorns but instead spreads by underground stems, forming a dense thicket.
Leaves are about 5" long with several rounded, deeply cut lobes on each side of the central vein. Twigs are brownish in color, usually crooked and distorted. Branches usually are ascending, forming an irregular crown. Fruit is a typical acorn about 3 4" long, half enclosed with a cup. Bark is red-brown to gray with rough furrows on older stems. Wood is very hard and heavy and is sometimes used for firewood.



Gambel Oak - Plant
Gambel Oak - Plant - June 30, 2009



Gambel Oak - Plant
Gambel Oak - Plant - June 30, 2009



Gambel Oak - Plant
Gambel Oak - Plant - June 30, 2009

Comment: Gambel Oak, Quercus gambelii

Page Posts: 3


Chris Cassity

Murray, Ut October 18, 2010
Hello. I am just wondering if you have tried to grow a Gambel into a Bonsai? I found some acorns and want to try and grow them for that purpose. Just wondering if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Chris Cassity

Linda

Utah October 13, 2010
Ken,

I planted a bunch of Gambel Oak acorns many years ago and now have two little shrubs in my front yard. I planted them in the summer and kept them fairly moist. They grow at an agonizingly slow rate, about an inch a year. I kept them watered fairly well for the first 3-4 years and now that their roots are established (they're over 10 years old now) They get a little water when I water my lawn, but otherwise they just live as native plants. They're about 2-3' from the road. You may want to mark your plant with a stake because when it loses its leaves in the fall it will look like a twig. I had three clusters of "homegrown" oaks and accidentally ran over one with the lawn mower early one spring.

It's nice to meet someone else who names their trees!

ken

salt lake city, Utah USA July 27, 2010
Hi,

We collected some acorns last fall. They sat in our window of our kitchen all winter. I planted five and low and behold one sprouted this spring. It now has three healthy leaves. I want to plant in our yard and am fearful of killing the little tyke. When should I plant now that were a few days from August? We named the Gamble, Bridger,after our husky lab who passed after 12 years. My wife and I have a special reverence to this little oak.
Thank you,

ken


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