oak acquired its name from its leaf, which resembles the chestnut
leaf Its ability to grow on rocky mountain ridges also has given
it the name of rock oak or mountain oak., Although it is common
throughout the mountains on dry, rocky soils, it grows best
in well-drained coves and bottomlands.
Chestnut oak leaves are 4 to 8 inches long. They are roughly
oval but often are wider near the apex and are roughly round-toothed.
Undersides of leaves often are hairy.
The shiny acorn is oval and 1 to 11/2 inches long. The cup is
thin and covered with fused scales.
The bark is dark reddish-brown, thick and deeply divided into
broad, rounded ridges.
The tree averages from 50 to 70 feet tall, with diameters between
2 and 3 feet. Like most white oaks, chestnut oak grows slowly
on almost all sites. Chestnut oak tends to form pure, open stands
on the poorer sites of hillsides and mountain slopes but usually
is mixed with other species such as hickories, other oaks and
pitch pine (or shortleaf pine on better sites).
The wood is generally similar to that of the other upland white
oaks: heavy, hard, strong and resistant to decay. It is used
extensively for railroad crossties, heavy timber for bridges,
and other rough construction.