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Quercus chrysolepis (Canyon Live Oak)

Canyon Live Oak, Maul Oak, Golden-Cup Oak

Quercus chrysolepis, Canyon Live Oak, Maul Oak, Golden-Cup Oak, Evergreen Oak, California Native Plant, California Native Shrub, California Native Tree
Quercus chrysolepis, Canyon Live Oak, Maul Oak, Golden-Cup Oak, Evergreen Oak, California Native Plant, California Native Shrub, California Native Tree

Magnificent and long-lived (up to 300 years), Quercus chrysolepis (Canyon Live Oak) is a variable evergreen shrub or tree depending on its location. It grows as a shrub and may form dense thickets on mountain slopes and ridgetops, and it grows as a tree in sheltered, moist canyons. In open areas the crown is dense, wide-spreading, and reaches nearly to the ground. In closed stands the crown is smaller in diameter and concentrated in the top half of the tree. The bark is smooth to flaky, fissured in small stems and more deeply furrowed in large stems. The leaves are thick, leathery, oblong, up to 4 in. long (10 cm), usually spiny in young trees and smooth in old trees, although both types can appear on the same tree. The foliage color varies from blue-green to glossy, dark-green. The male flowers are in catkins while the female flowers are solitary or in sparsely-flowered spikes. The ellipsoidal, light chestnut brown acorns are a valuable source of food for small mammals and birds. Canyon Live Oak is well adapted to arid conditions thanks to its deep and extensive root system that access deep sources of water during summer drought. Canyon Live is considered to be the most beautiful of the California oaks. Open-grown trees with their wide crowns of evergreen leaves make attractive urban trees. The ability of Canyon Live Oak to grow on steep, rocky, moving slopes makes it an excellent stabilizer of soils on steep slopes.

  • Grows up to 30-80 ft. tall (9-24 m) and 30-60 ft. wide (9-18 m).
  • A full sun to part shade lover, this tree is easily grown in very acidic to slightly alkaline, well-drained, loam or sand or clay soils. Drought tolerant once established, it is also moderately tolerant of salt spray.
  • May be affected by sudden oak death, crown rot, mistletoe, armillaria and invasive shot hole borer, goldspotted oak borer, aphids, caterpillars.
  • Propagate by seed. No pretreatment is necessary. Plant immediately – outdoors or in deep containers to accommodate long initial taproot. Many oaks require cold temperatures to initiate shoot development.
  • Toxic to horses.
  • Native to Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico.

Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 9
Climate Zones 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Fagaceae
Genus Quercus
Common names Oak
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 30' - 80'
(9.1m - 24.4m)
Spread 30' - 60'
(9.1m - 18.3m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants California, United States, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, Southwest, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Salt, Dry Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, City and Courtyard, Prairie and Meadow
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Quercus douglasii (Blue Oak)
Quercus myrtifolia (Myrtle Oak)
Quercus velutina (Black Oak)
Quercus laurifolia (Laurel Oak)
Quercus phellos (Willow Oak)
Quercus hemisphaerica (Darlington Oak)

Recommended Companion Plants

Arbutus menziesii (Madrone)
Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)
Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine)
Arctostaphylos manzanita (Common Manzanita)
Ceanothus oliganthus (Hairy Ceanothus)
Rhamnus californica (California Coffeeberry)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

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Green Canopy, Better World: Exploring the Benefits of Trees
Trees that Invite Wildlife to Your Garden
Spectacular Trees for Vibrant Fall Colors: A Gardener’s Guide
Quercus (Oak) – Pests and Diseases to Watch Out For
Grow Your Own Oak Tree: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planting Acorns
8 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Plant an Oak Tree
Native Oak Trees: A Must-Have for Your Landscape
Native Plant Alternatives to Quercus acutissima (Sawtooth Oak)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 9
Climate Zones 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Fagaceae
Genus Quercus
Common names Oak
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 30' - 80'
(9.1m - 24.4m)
Spread 30' - 60'
(9.1m - 18.3m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants California, United States, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, Southwest, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Salt, Dry Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, City and Courtyard, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Guides with
Quercus (Oak)
Not sure which Quercus (Oak) to pick?
Compare Now

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