Tap to Read ➤

How to Take Care of a Red Oak Tree

Sonia Nair Oct 24, 2018
As the name rightly suggests, the red oak tree is popular for its red-colored fall foliage. Here are some information about this oak tree, which is also grown for timber.
Like maples, some species of oak trees are popular for their fall foliage. They include red oak trees that develop a red fall foliage. These oak trees belong to the genus Quercus. Unlike maple trees, red oaks develop their fall foliage during the later part of the season, and carry it for a longer time.
Even though, it cannot be as spectacular as in maples, the fall foliage of oaks is often useful in extending the bright and colorful appearance of your landscape. It is one of the reasons why they are grown intermittently with maple trees.


Oaks are classified into three groups on the basis of leaf shape - live oaks, white oaks, and red oaks. Oaks are deciduous trees that are very hardy in nature. 
There are various species of red oak trees that are seen in different regions. In North America, northern red oak is commonly found. Likewise, there are other similar species like, Texas red oak, Southern red oak, Mexican red oak, etc.
Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) is otherwise known as champion oak, and is very widely used as a shade tree. This tree is commonly refereed to as red oak. They can grow to a height of 80 to 100 feet.
However, red oaks growing in open have much wider and stouter trunks, as compared to those growing in forest areas. Red oak trees in forest areas have longer trunks with branches starting at a higher level. An average ten-year-old red oak can reach a height of around 20 feet.
The leaves of these trees have 7, 9, or 11 lobes, and each lobe has three pointed, teeth-like edges. Otherwise green in color, the leaves turns dark red in autumn. Some of these trees develop yellow-brown leaves, instead of red. Even the bark of the red oak tree is blackish-brown, with numerous ridges and furrows.
In case of young trees, the bark is smooth, shiny, and grayish. These trees produce acorns that take around two years to develop fully. The acorns have a length of around half an inch, and sport disc-shaped cups on one end.

How to Care for a Red Oak Tree

As mentioned, these oaks are hardy and require minimal care. They survive in a wide range of climatic and soil conditions. While young plants can be grown in partial shade, these trees require full sun for a healthy growth.
It is always better to plant them in sandy loam that is neutral or slightly acidic in nature. Young plants and trees require regular watering, especially during the growing stage. Red oak trees grow at a faster rate, and start producing acorns as they reach 20 years of age. Young trees may require pruning, if you want them to grow in a particular shape.
Though they are hardy, red oaks may develop diseases, like chlorosis; if the pH level of the soil rises above 7. In that case, the leaves turn yellow or brown, gradually leading to the destruction of the tree.
Apart from that, weak trees may be attacked by insects, like gypsy moth, orange-striped oak worm, canker worms, and oak leaf skeletonizers. Even chestnut borer and obscure scale may attack weak red oak trees. Other problems include oak wilt, root rot, and leaf scorch.