Dwarf Chinkapin Oak

Dwarf Chinkapin Oak Quercus prinoidesThe dwarf chinkapin oak (Quercus prinoides) is also known as scrub chestnut oak, a small shrub that grows 2 to 10 feet (maximum 18 feet), with a trunk diameter of 1 to 4 inches (maximum 10 feet). It is sometimes thought of as a “weed tree,” but it may be useful to bind soil along roadsides and rocky slopes.

dwarf chinkapin oak leaves in a cluster on a twig
Dwarf Chinkapin Oak Leaves - Photo by Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org 

Habitat: Found on dry ridges and rocky bluffs

Hardiness: Varies with the species of oak tree, ranging from zone 3 to zone 9

Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate

Mature Shape: Broad, rounded

Height: Varies with species. Often maturing between 50 to 75 feet tall. Capable of growing upwards of 100 feet.

Width: 40 to 70 feet; varies with species

Site Requirements: Best growth in moist, well-drained soils. Adaptable to adverse soil conditions.

Flowering Dates: Spring

Seed Dispersal Dates: Fall

Seed Bearing Age: 3-5 years

Seed Bearing Frequency: Yearly

Seed Stratification: No stratification period is needed.

The leaves are small, 2 to 5 inches, 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches wide, sharp toothed, 3 to 7 pairs of teeth along the margin, obovate outline, dark yellow-green on the top and paler with gray downy hair beneath.

The twigs and bids resemble swamp oak, but smaller, and a light orange-brown to red-brown color. The acorn cup is 3/8 to 7/8 inches across, tight scaled, and oval shaped – it produces copious amounts of sweet-kernel acorn which is a valuable source of calories for wildlife.  The bark is thin, light brown, and scaly.

It can be found in dry rocky or sandy soils along roadsides, hillside pastures, and barren slopes. The range extends from Maine to Nebraska and south to North Carolina and Texas.

trunk of dwarf chinkapin oak showing bark
Dwarf Chinkapin Oak Bark - Photo by Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org 

Diseases that Can Affect Dwarf Chinkapin Oak

Insects that Can Affect Dwarf Chinkapin Oak

dwarf chinkapin oak acorn
Dwarf Chinkapin Oak Fruit - Photo by Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org

single dwarf chinkapin oak leaf
Dwarf Chinkapin Oak Leaf - Photo by Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org