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The Cork oak can become a large, heritage scale, evergreen tree slowly growing 30-60 ft. tall and 40-50 ft. wide. Pale green leathery leaves have heavily serrated margins and occasional spines; acorns grow to 1 1/4 in. long and are held by a heavily fringed base. Trunks and branches are covered by thick bark that is the source of cork for commercial uses.

Cork oak is native to the western and central Mediterranean region of Europe and parts of north Africa where it is well adapted to heat, aridity and drought, and prefers rocky and slightly acidic soils. It was introduced into California in the mid 1800's and can be found in landscapes across the Inland Empire. While not as popular as our native oaks, it is very garden tolerant and thrives in deep well-drained soils with low amounts of summer water.

Water Needs

The Cork oak performs best in gardens and landscapes when planted in well-drained soils and when it receives normal winter rainfall. Low amounts of summer irrigation help younger trees to grow faster and sustain the character of mature trees.

The chart shown below provides a baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months marked by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Low-branching, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 30 ft. - 60 ft.
Width: 40 ft. - 50 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Insignificant
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Rocky soil, Deep soil, Clay, Acidic soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Shade Tree, Screening, Parks and open space, Attracts butterflies


Plan on light pruning when young to establish good long term structure. Prune lightly and remove dead wood in early fall as needed (D).



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