Monterrey oaks (also known as Mexican white oak) started getting popular as a planting choice about 10 years ago. There are a few scattered specimens around town that are older than this, but not many. So far, this tree is proving to be a hardy tree to the area and it is oak wilt resistant. I expect to see more and more of the Monterrey oak as the years go by.
But, for now, the jury is still out on this tree in my opinion. We’ll need to see a number of these trees live into maturity before I give them a full-blown thumbs up. I’ve run across a few mature specimens and they all seem to be very free of problems. I’ve began recommending this tree regularly.
The tree is said to grow to 40-60′ in height. I haven’t seen any Mexican white oaks old enough to reach this height and certainly the growing conditions of your yard would have a large impact on max size. Near a water source, I can envision the Monterrey oak reaching these heights; in the hill country it would likely top out around 20-30′.
The only disease I really ever find on the Monterrey oak is powdery mildew. This is a very manageable disease. I’ve seen our regular spring oak worms chew on some of the foliage, but this is normal for all oaks in the area. The Monterrey is not any more prone or less likely to this kind of attack. As a whole they are definitely insect and disease resistant.
Pruning needs are very moderate for this tree. Because Mexican white oaks are fast growing they’ll need some regular pruning to keep low limbs out of the way. But, they don’t produce a lot of deadwood and they don’t need any creative pruning or thinning.
The Monterrey oak’s natural distribution ranges from Guatemala in central America all the way up through Mexico, and there is one small stand of Monterrey oaks in south west Texas found back in 1992. In its natural distribution, the Monterrey oak is found in many different ecosystems ranging from river banks, to cloud (mountain) forests, to arid-desert like areas. This is definitely a hardy tree suited for many different settings.
As the years go by and I see more and more healthy specimens, I find myself recommending the Monterrey oak more and more. The tree is fast growing, hardy and offers foliage for 10-11 months out to the year. Monterrey oaks are a good choice to bring greenery into the winter landscape and to provide a large barrier for privacy screening.