Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Northern Red Oak
Give a thumbs up Eastern Red Oak
Give a thumbs up Mountain Red Oak
Give a thumbs up Gray Oak
Give a thumbs up Oak

Botanical names:
Quercus rubra Accepted
Quercus borealis Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 60 - 80 feet
Plant Spread: 40 - 60 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Fruit: Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Edible Parts: Fruit
Dynamic Accumulator: K (Potassium)
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Propagation: Seeds: Sow in situ
Seeds are hydrophilic
Pollinators: Wind
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Monoecious
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
One of the few sources of fall color in our area

This plant is tagged in:
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Comments:
Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 9, 2017 11:14 AM

Northern Red Oak is one of the common climax forest trees, as it is the most tolerant oak in growing in shade when a young forest tree, in a large native range from southeast Canada & Nova Scotia down to southern Alabama to east Oklahoma up to northern Minnesota, widespread in many places. It is also one of the most common shade trees planted in landscapes in eastern North America and is offered by many nurseries. It grows about 1.5 to 2 feet/year and lives about 200 to 300 years. It is adaptable to many soils. It transplants easily as it does not develop a taproot. It bears one of the larger acorns for a member of the Black Oak subgroup that gets about 1.25 inches long that is loved by birds and mammals. It develops a good autumn color ranging from yellow to orange to red. It is a high quality plant that makes an excellent shade tree for landscapes.

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Posted by tx_flower_child (North Central TX - Zone 8a) on Aug 25, 2016 1:05 PM

Red oaks are beautiful trees but are susceptible to the potentially fatal Oakwilt disease. A certified arborist should be knowledgeable regarding this disease.

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Posted by jathton (Oklahoma City, OK) on Nov 21, 2019 10:03 PM

Throughout my career I called myself a garden designer, But when I joined the staff of a terrific locally owned nursery in the 1990's I also became a "plant salesman." I became responsible for helping customers select as little as one new plant for their home landscape… and selling a tree to a customer became a special treat.
I say that because most tree customers were homeowners who were going to live in their house for 5-7 years before selling and moving on. Their biggest motivation when tree shopping was to add a tree or a few trees to the grounds around that home… in the hope that the trees they planted would add dollars to the re-sale value of their home.
A small percentage of those customers came into the nursery knowing what they wanted. Their tree needed to be attractively shaped and capable of rapid growth. They were looking for Silver Maples and Sycamores and Hackberries and Thornless Honeylocust. Bradford Pears had tremendous appeal because of their wonderfully balanced shape when young. Some of them even wanted Cottonwoods and Mimosas. In short, they had the names of fast growing trees down cold.
It very quickly became a mission of mine to steer these customers away from what I called "trash trees" [my opinion] and toward trees that had real quality.
One of the first trees I always pointed them toward was the Northern Red Oak [Quercus rubra.]
I described this tree as "majestic" and "noble" and "tremendously long lived"… that there were innumerable, beautiful Red Oaks in Oklahoma City that had been planted shortly after the city was formed in 1889. I told them these trees developed impressively thick trunks and stout branches that grew at right angles to the trunk… eventually forming full, rounded crowns. They learned, much to their surprise, a properly cared for Red Oak could grow to 16-20 feet in ten years. They found out Red Oaks were tolerant of many soil conditions, as long as the soil was well-drained. They discovered the leaves and the acorns contained tannic acid which helps to guard them from fungus and insects. They learned the beautifully lobed five to ten inch long leaves are dark green and smooth, sometimes shining above… and they turn rich shades of red in fall… in a city that has been overwhelmed by trees with yellow autumn color.
It has been twenty two years since I was a "tree salesman" associated with that nursery. These days I can drive through several neighborhoods in Oklahoma City and see large numbers of stout, beautifully shaped semi-mature Northern Red Oaks shading front lawns and streets and peeking over the roofs of homes… Red Oaks I sold to customers who came to the nursery looking for a Silver Maple. I'll always love Northern Red Oaks for their great character, their stature in a lawn setting, their beautiful fall color and their longevity.
Incidentally, the largest Northern Red Oak in America is 131 feet tall and has a spread of 118 feet. It lives in Washington County, VA.

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Posted by robertduval14 (Mason, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Apr 19, 2013 2:37 PM

New Jersey's state tree.

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Plant Events from our members
AndreA33 On November 18, 2016 Seeds sown
bzrhart On May 7, 2017 Obtained plant
Obtained from local native-plant nursery in Cloquet. 10-gallon bucket, 8ft tall and eager to grow!
jhugart On May 5, 2020 Plant emerged
Noticed leaves emerging today.
» Post your own event for this plant

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Beautiful! by vic May 13, 2012 11:35 AM 0
Unidentified sapling by JCRally May 23, 2020 11:06 AM 2
I don't know which oak species this is by henrisabatini Dec 24, 2019 12:48 PM 5
Is this a red oak? by mozart007 Nov 13, 2019 5:30 PM 9
Cuttings from Trees - Need Info by blue23rose Nov 18, 2019 6:15 AM 21
plant identification by Octothorpe Jul 7, 2019 8:36 AM 6
oak tree identification by sam153452 Jun 26, 2019 4:53 PM 7
Tree ID by Olives04 Jun 6, 2019 8:42 AM 3
Is this some kind of baby oak tree by mozart007 May 12, 2019 9:09 PM 2
Wetland Tree ID by eglaud May 1, 2019 6:58 PM 3
Type of tree by Dewayne63368 May 31, 2018 7:01 PM 11

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