Quercus garryana

garry oak

Oregon white oak

Outstanding Qualities

Mature oaks are iconic trees of stately beauty and the Garry oak, a native of the maritime Pacific Northwest and California, is as much so as its relations. Indeed, for the sizable garden, this large, deciduous tree will become majestic over time – oaks are generally slow-growing so patience is required. The forest green leaves will provide shade in summer and the winter silhouette is magnificent. As a native a site with full sun, well-drained soil, and no water during the summer is ideal.

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: A site for this could replace a lawn, making a more naturalistic tableau of grasses, bulbs and other easy-care perennials and shrubs. Camas (both Camassia quamash and C. cusickii), fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum and E. revolutum), and Tommasini’s crocus (Crocus tommasinianus) are natural companions as they are bulbs which bloom in spring and become dormant when spring rains vanish. Allow them to seed and increase naturally. Suitable companion shrubs include flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum), evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) and Japanese holly (Ilex crenata cultivars). Ornamental grasses, such as blue oat grass (Helictotrichon), and Moor grass (Molinia), while not all native, would help to provide summer interest. The main thing is to choose companions that also like sharp drainage and are drought tolerant, so that you don't have to water in the summer.

Great Color Contrasts: variegated, silver, gold

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue

Culture Notes

Plant the Garry oak in well-drained or sandy soil; in fact, the best approach is to create a large bed for this tree and its companions all at once as the less the roots are disturbed the better. This native oak grows best in full sun and, once established, it is drought tolerant; indeed, summer watering is not desirable for good development. No fertilizer is necessary. Although slow growing, the Garry oak will become a large tree over time so provide ample room for it to mature. Little pruning is needed other than removing dead, broken or poorly formed limbs.

© Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Quick Facts

Plant Type: tree

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 15 ft. 0 in. (4.57 m.)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 m.)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 9

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: drought tolerant once established