The Japanese oak tree, also known as a blue Japanese oak, is a species of oak tree that is native to Japan, Eastern Mongolia and Korea, and requires basic care and maintenance to thrive. The shape of the Japanese oak is very round or oval and the leaves are very dense. These trees tend to grow very slowly and when reaching a peak height of 25 to 40 feet with a span of 25 to 35 feet wide. New growth, prior to reaching maturity, has a bronze or purplish tint. The leaves of the Japanese oak are shiny, dark green, have a leathery texture and are two and half to five and a half inches long by one to two and a half inches wide. The Japanese oak grows well in USDA hardiness zones 8A through 9B.
Japanese oaks are often planted in parks and along streets and ideal to plant in a backyard as the tight crown and uniform shape of the tree lends a formal appearance to the landscape. While lending a sophistication to the landscape, the Japanese oak is fairly resilient. It is tolerant of drought and even thrives in soil that has clay elements and those that drain poorly. Little care is required once this tree is planted and trained, as it is resistant to pests and draught.
As the Japanese oak is a hearty tree you have a fair amount of freedom where you chose to plant your tree, especially if you are in the Southern United States. Ideally, you should look for a spot that receives a full sunlight and is far enough away from your house and power lines as the height and span of the tree can span up to 35 feet. Leave at least 20 feet between where you plant your Japanese oak and other trees and buildings.
The Japanese oak tree can grow in a variety of soils including heavy clay, sand and acidic. Choose a spot that is occasionally wet but usually well drained. Dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball and double the size in width. If the root ball is wrapped in burlap or another covering remove the covering and place the tree roots in the hole. Make sure the tree is standing straight and tall.
Mix the soil you removed from the hole with compost. Fill the hole in with the soil and compost mix. As you fill in the soil pat it down with your foot or shovel to ensure it is firm. Water the area surrounding the tree allowing the water to soak into the ground. Once you have planted and watered your tree place mulch around the base of the tree.
Once you have planted your tree be sure to water it weekly, especially in during the summer months. Once it has matured, in two to three years, normal rainfall should keep your Japanese oak watered. In times of draught water weekly soaking the base to keep the leaves from browning.
Your Japanese oak will require training in order to ensure it reaches its full majestic glory. As many upright trunks and branches can originate without training and lead to a weakened tree, prune and train to develop a central leader and well-spaced branches. Once the tree begins to grow little maintenance should be required.