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Red oak

Image of red oak leaves in summer, they are green with pointed tips

Red oak

Red oak TreeNa graphic showing acorns and fall foliage

About the red oak

Red oak (Northern red oak) - Quercus rubra

Identification: Red oaks can be identified by their long, lobed leaves with pointed tips. This differentiates them from white oak varieties, which have curved edges. Leaves turn red or bronze in fall. In spring, oaks make catkins, a name for small, cylinder-shaped flower spikes. In the fall, they produce barrel-shaped acorns with bumpy caps. Red oak bark is light gray and ridged. Oaks are large trees that can live for hundreds of years. Northern red oaks grow faster than many other oak varieties.

Height: 60-75 feet

Preferences: Full sun to shade. Hardiness zones 3-7

Wildlife value: The acorns of the red oak tree are a favorite food of wildlife including game birds and small mammals. The acorns are more bitter than those of white oaks, containing a greater concentration of tannins. 

Uses: Red oak wood is used to make furniture, veneer and flooring.

Learn about oak wilt, an invasive disease affecting red oak trees