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Gambel Oak

Quercus gambelii

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Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii) at Tagawa Gardens

Gambel Oak

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii) at Tagawa Gardens

Gambel Oak foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii) at Tagawa Gardens

Gambel Oak

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  25 feet

Spread:  15 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  4

Other Names:  Scrub Oak, Oak Brush, Rocky Mountain White Oak


A small tree or large shrub that may vary greatly in size in different locations, with branches that are are irregular, crooked and flexible; young plants can form a dense thicket, suitable as a windbreak; very tolerant of drought and poor soils

Ornamental Features

Gambel Oak has dark green foliage with grayish green undersides on a tree with an oval habit of growth. The glossy lobed leaves turn outstanding shades of yellow, orange and red in the fall, which persists throughout the winter. It produces brown acorns with gold overtones from late summer to late fall. The fruit can be messy if allowed to drop on the lawn or walkways, and may require occasional clean-up.

Landscape Attributes

Gambel Oak is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen tree with a shapely oval form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This tree will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and can be pruned at anytime. It is a good choice for attracting squirrels to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Messy
  • Suckering

Gambel Oak is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • Windbreaks and Shelterbelts
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Gambel Oak will grow to be about 25 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 15 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live to a ripe old age of 150 years or more; think of this as a heritage tree for future generations!

This tree should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for poor, alkaline soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is native to parts of North America.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Accent  Massing  Screening  Windbreak  Naturalizing 
Fruit  Fall Color  Winter Value  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features

This Plant Library is for informational purposes only. We may or may not carry the items listed. During many times of the year, we may carry many more plants in our store than are listed in the Plant Library. Please contact us directly at 303-690-4722 or visit our store for current availability and for assistance.