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Sawtooth oak

(Quercus acutissima)

Photo of sawtooth oak
Photo credit: Nisa Karimi

Fast-growing deciduous tree up to 50 feet tall. Pyramidal in shape when young but becomes more rounded when mature. Gray-brown bark becomes deeply furrowed. Twigs are slender and red to gray-brown with triangular buds and slightly hairy scale edges.

 Overview map of prohibited classification in WI
Prohibited (red) counties

Classification in Wisconsin: Prohibited

Ecological Threat
  • It is commonly encouraged for planting as wildlife forage and habitat due to the mass production of acorns after a short period.
  • Escapes from urban settings into nearby natural areas, including forests.
  • It is tolerant of many types of soil and growing conditions.
  • It can hybridize with native oak species.

Leaves: Simple, alternate and shiny two to eight inches long. Leaves are dark green that turns dull yellow or brown in fall. Leaf edges are serrated and bristled.

Flowers: Brown, inconspicuous and monoecious.

Fruits & seeds: Brown, oval acorns with a cap with long recurving scales covering most of the nut.

Similar species: Chestnut (Castanea spp.) has identical leaves that are larger.


Mechanical: Pull seedlings.

Chemical: Foliar sprayed small trees with glyphosate. For more giant trees, girdle and spray with glyphosate or use it as a cut stump treatment.

Sources for content:
  • Czarapata, Elizabeth; Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest: an illustrated guide to their identification and control. The University of Wisconsin Press. 2005. Pg. 125
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