Red Oaks - Knowledgebase Question

Sacramento, CA
Question by madams22
May 29, 2002
I have received conflicting information regarding red oaks. I specifically would like information comparing the Quercus rubra, Quercus shumardii, and Quercus coccinea. The main attribute that I am unclear on is whether or not the tree holds its brown leaves through the winter and if so how long does it hold them.

Answer from NGA
May 29, 2002


Quercus rubra, the Northern red oak, is a deciduous tree. New leaves and leafstalks are bright red or bright yellow in the spring, dark green in summer, turning dark red, ruddy brown or orange in the fall. The leaves will fall in autumn and the color variances are due to the degree of cold temperatures the tree experiences during late summer and autumn. Quercus shumardii, the Shumard Red Oak, produces bright yellow leaves in the spring. They turn dark green in summer, changing to yellow or red in the autumn. Quercus coccinea, or Scarlet Oak, produces bright green leaves in the spring which turn scarlet in the autumn when the tree experiences cold nights. The leaves will fall before winter arrives. The oak that retains its leaves all winter is Quercus palustris, or Pin Oak. The leaves on this tree turn a muddy brown in autumn and hang on the tree until early spring, when new growth pushes them off. Hope this clarifies things for you!

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