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Similar but less problematic plants:
Castanea dentata Castanea dentata
Quercus coccinea Fall color
Quercus rubra is often confused with:
Quercus bicolor Habit
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Quercus phellos Quercus phellos
Quercus falcata Form
Quercus nigra Form

Red Oak Quercus rubra

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Red Oak:

Phonetic Spelling
KWER-kus RUBE-ruh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Northern Red Oak is a deciduous tree that may grow 60 to 90 feet tall and is found throughout the Piedmont and mountain areas of NC. It commonly grows on mesic slopes and well-drained uplands, on lower and middle slopes, in coves, ravines or valley floors. Most commonly on N- and E- facing slopes, and on clay, loam, and sandy or gravelly soils.

The leaves are alternate with 7 to 11 bristle-tipped lobes. The bark is smooth on young trees but as it ages wide, flat-topped ridges and shallow furrows develop. The shallow furrows form a pattern resembling ski tracts. In spring, yellow-green, cylindrical, male flowers and small, green, female spikes mature. The tree produces a 3/4- to 1-inch acorn with a flat, thick cap that covers about 1/4 the nut. The acorn requires two growing seasons to reach maturity. Northern red oak generally first bear fruits at 20-25 years but don’t produce acorns in abundance until 40-50 years. 

This plant is tolerant of urban conditions including dry and acidic soil and air pollution. It sustains the best growth in full sunlight with well-drained, slightly acidic, sandy loam. Use as a shade tree, street tree and in recreational areas.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Susceptible to oak wilt and chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves while the veins remain green) which can occur when soil is not sufficiently acidic.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurea'
    This selection features young leaves with a golden yellow color. This effect will probably fade with the onset of hot weather
  • 'Splendens'
    Notable for its fine red fall color. It is not commonly available.
'Aurea', 'Splendens'
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#specimen#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#cover plant#street tree#playground#lawn tree#small mammals#food source#low flammability#NC native#buffer#black bears#wild turkeys#deer resistant#woodpeckers#acorns#nighttime garden#children's garden#fire resistant#edible fruits#screening#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#larval host tree#pollinator garden#problem for horses#audubon#moth larva#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurea'
    This selection features young leaves with a golden yellow color. This effect will probably fade with the onset of hot weather
  • 'Splendens'
    Notable for its fine red fall color. It is not commonly available.
'Aurea', 'Splendens'
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#specimen#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#cover plant#street tree#playground#lawn tree#small mammals#food source#low flammability#NC native#buffer#black bears#wild turkeys#deer resistant#woodpeckers#acorns#nighttime garden#children's garden#fire resistant#edible fruits#screening#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#larval host tree#pollinator garden#problem for horses#audubon#moth larva#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Quercus
    Species:
    rubra
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The acorns of red oak (and other oak species) were an important food source for Native Americans. Some tribes are known to have used the bark as medicine for heart troubles and bronchial infections. It was also used as an astringent, disinfectant, and cleanser. The lumber is used for furniture, veneer, interior finishing, cabinets, paneling, and flooring as well as for agricultural implements, posts, and railway ties
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America and Eastern Canada
    Distribution:
    Throughout central and eastern USA and into Canada. Found found north to Minnesota, west to Nebraska, south to Alabama, and east to coast.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Oak trees support a wide variety of Lepidopteran. You may see Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Adult Imperial Moths do not feed. Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus), which have one flight from June-August everywhere but Florida where they emerge April-May. Edward's Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii), has one flight from May-July in the south and June-July in the north. Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), has three to four flights in the south from February-November and two flights in the north from May-September. White-M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) has three broods in the north from February-October. Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) has three broods in Texas and the deep south from January-November, and two broods in the north from April-September. Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) has one brood from April-June, appearing as early as January in Florida. The acorns are eaten by woodpeckers, blue jays small mammals, wild turkeys white-tailed deer and black bears.
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Edible fruit
    Screening
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire and moderately resistant to damage from deer.
    Edibility:
    Acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 60 ft. 0 in. - 90 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 60 ft. 0 in. - 75 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Conical
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Produces 1-inch long acorns singly or in pairs on a very short stem. The wide cap covers the upper 1/4 of the nut. The tree may reach 40 years of age before producing acorns. Displays from August to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    It produces pollen flowers in drooping, elongated clusters. Blooms from April to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The 7-inch leaves are divided less than halfway to the mid-vein into 7–11 shallow wavy lobes with a few irregular bristle- tipped teeth. The leaves are glabrous and dull green above and light dull green below with tufts of hairs in the vein angles. Fall color is usually brick red to scarlet and very attractive.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Black
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    The bark is dark gray or black which is shallowly furrowed into broad hard scaly ridges. The inner bark is reddish to pink.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Bark on young branches is brown and smooth
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Drought
    Fire
    Pollution
    Problems:
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Gallotannins, quercitrin, and quercitin.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Seeds