The Society of Municipal Arborists has selected the Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana or Q. prinus) as its Urban Tree of the Year for 2017.
These tall, stately trees are one of my favorites, found in many urban locations in the eastern part of the United States. I first encountered one right across the street from my old DC residence -- in the front yard of a neighbor. I'd never seen one before, and I had to turn to my tree ID books to find out that it was, indeed an oak.
As the SMA notes, the leaves are similar to those of an American chestnut, and both trees indeed are members of the beech family, Fagaceae.
Chestnut oaks, sometimes called roack oaks or mountain oaks, are pH adaptable, drought-tolerant, and free of major pests and diseases.
The tree was nominated by Forestry Assistant Jocelyn Knerr of Dublin, Ohio. "We've planted it to replace some of our ash trees," she says, "as well as using it in greenspaces throughout the city." Lorri Grueber, an Urban Forester in Frankfort, Kentucky, is also a fan of chestnut oaks. "Its habit provides an inviting canopy, it has glossy leaves, in the summer, and it affords fabulous winter interest with the rugged bark," she says.
Chestnut oak is hardy in zones 4 to 8, prefers full sun, and reaches a height of 50 to 70 feet with a similar spread. So make sure you plant it in a place where it'll have plenty of room!