Skip to main content

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 buds that are triangular in shape and have slightly hairy scale edges.


Ecological threat
  • Commonly encouraged for planting as wildlife forage and habitat due to the mass production of acorns after a short period of time.
  • 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.
 Overview map of prohibited classification in WI
Prohibited (red) counties

Classification in Wisconsin: Prohibited

Species Assessment Groups (SAG) were assembled to recommend a legal classification for each species considered for NR 40. The recommendation for sawtooth oak was based upon this literature review [PDF] developed by the department.


Leaves: Simple, alternate and shiny two to eight inches long. Leaves are dark green that turn 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 that has long recurving scales that cover most of the nut.

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


Mechanical: Pull seedlings.

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


View sawtooth oak pictures in our photo gallery.


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