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Sawtooth oak

Sawtooth oak (Quercus acutissima)

Fast growing deciduous tree up to 50’ tall. Pyramidal in shape when young but becomes more rounded when mature. Gray-brown bark that becomes deeply furrowed. Twigs are slender and red to gray-brown with buds that are triangular in shape and have slightly hairy scale edges.


Regulated areas of sawtooth oak
Sawtooth oak is Prohibited (Red counties)

Ecological threat:

  • Commonly encouraged for planting as wildlife forage and habitat due to the mass production of acorns after a short period of time.
  • Escapes from urban settings into nearby natural areas including forests.
  • Is tolerant of many types of soil and growing conditions.
  • Can hybridize with native oak species.

Classification in Wisconsin: Prohibited

Species Assessment Groups (SAG) were assembled to recommend a legal classification for each species considered for NR 40. The recommendation for sawtooth oak was based upon this literature review developed by the department.


Leaves: Simple, alternate, and shiny leaves are 2-8” long. Leaves are dark green that turn dull yellow or brown in fall. Leaf edges are serrated and bristled.

Flowers: Brown, inconspicuous, and monoecious.

Fruits & seeds: Brown, oval acorns with cap that has long recurving scales that cover most of the nut.

Similar species: Chestnut (Castanea spp.) has similar leaves that are larger.


Known county distribution of sawtooth oak
Counties in WI where sawtooth oak has been reported (as of July 2011). Both vouchered and unvouchered reports included.

Currently, there have not been reports of sawtooth oak in WI. Have you seen it? Send us a report.


Mechanical: Pull seedlings.

Chemical: Foliar spray small trees with glyphosate. For larger trees, girdle and spray with glyphosate or use as a cut stump treatment.


View sawtooth oak pictures in our photo gallery!


Sources for content:

  • Czarapata, Elizabeth; Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest: an illustrated guide to their identification and control. University of Wisconsin Press. 2005. Pg. 125

Links for More Information

Last revised: Monday June 03 2019