The Red Oak – An Overview

The red oak is also called the northern red oak and although has been widely cultivated in Germany and Australia, it is native to North America. If you are considering using this tree, here is an overview.

The northern red oak is a variety of oak that is native to North America. The tree grows very rapidly and favors acidic soil. Its native range is from Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada although it is found as far south as Georgia in the United States. In the forests, the tree grows to heights of from 115 feet to 141 feet. Trees grown in the open tend to be a bit shorter, but often have thicker trunks.

The main characteristic of the red oak is its bark which has ridges topped with what appear to be almost shiny strips. Other varieties of oak have similar bark ridges and strips, but they normally occur only on the upper portion of the trees. The ridges on the red oak go all the way to the bottom and are one of the quickest ways to identify the tree. The branches tend to grow at right angles from the stems which produce a rounded narrow head.

oak and fruit

The leaves of the red oak are between 5 and 10 inches longed with between 7 and 11 bristle tipped lobes. The leaves start off as a pinkish white after budding and turn into a deep and bright green color by midsummer. In the fall the leaves turn a rich and dark purplish red color adding greatly to the beauty of the Northern woods. The tree begins to produce acorns after their second year. The acorns are very bitter in taste, but despite this they are still eaten by birds, deer, and squirrels.

The red oak is one of the most important trees in the North American lumber industry. It produces a high grade wood that is extremely open grained. The wood is widely used in home construction and is of high enough quality to be used for furniture as well. Many other varieties of oak that do not produce such a high quality board have often been sold as red oak.

There is a famous Northern Red Oak located in Ashford, Connecticut that is very ancient. It measures 26 feet at its girth. The Chase Creek Red Oak is another famous tree. It can be found growing on a steep hillside in Maryland and reaches a height of 136 feet. The red oak is the Provincial Tree of Prince Edward Island in Canada and the State tree of both New Jersey and Iowa in the United States.

About the Author

Aazdak Alisimo writes about tree facts for PlantTreeNursery.com.

Leave a Reply