You can find northern red oak in forests and backyards throughout Michigan. It prefers to grow in moist areas and is able to tolerate colder climates, which is why it can be found in both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. It can also be found along the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.
Northern red oak have lobed leaf margins, and the tips of the leaf are pointed. Look for pointed leaf tips to tell the difference between red and white oak species.
The bark of a red oak looks as if someone went cross-country skiing on the bark. Look for “ski trails” that run up and down the trunk of the tree.
Oak trees are “mast” trees, which mean they produce fruit – specifically acorns. Acorns are considered “hard mast”, because the outer shell is hard, with a seed enclosed inside. The acorns on a red oak have a saucer-shaped cup, which is the top of the acorn. The acorn itself is nearly round.
Department of Natural Resources