Is a scrub oak suitable for a dry, sandy coastal site?


Should I plant a scrub oak —Quercus ilicifolia—in a dry, sandy coastal site in Hancock County? It is native to Massachusetts and Southern ME, but isn’t that ecoregion going to shift north anyway? Is climate change something to consider when planting a tree? I need a short oak under utility lines, so I’m looking at this particular variety.


Abi Griffith, Horticulture Community Education Assistant

According to Native Plant Trust GoBotany website, it looks like they have already been documented in Hancock county and doesn’t seem too out of the range of its more populated native range.  It is always a good idea to be thoughtful about planting natives, and you raise a good point with the changes we are already seeing due to climate change. I think you’d be fine to plant this tree if it suits the site and your needs.

Sounds like you have already done your homework, but if you are in need of other possible smaller tree or shrub suggestions, you could check out this link to Plants for A Maine Landscape with resources and plant lists by site condition. Also includes a list of “small trees for small spaces” that may be of interest to you.