Southern Red Oak

Form in winter


The southern red oak is a tough tree that is well-suited to the urban environment due to its rapid rate of growth and its great adaptability to the pressures of city life.

This tree is eligible for a $100 Tree Rebate.

Common Name
Southern red oak

Latin Name
Quercus falcata

Simple, alternately arranged, deeply lobed, with 3 to 5 bristle-tipped lobes per leaf. The middle, terminal lobe is upright, while the outer lobes are frequently long, narrow, and sickle-shaped.

Male flowers are yellow-green, with some red, borne on long threadlike catkins*; females are reddish and borne on short spikes

Nearly globular*-shaped acorn, about 1/2 inch long with slightly hairy, saucer-shaped cup

Reddish brown in color, may be gray; pubescent* or glabrous*; multiple terminal buds are dark reddish brown

Thick, dark, brownish-black and deeply furrowed, with small, pebbly scales

Broad, open, well-rounded crown

Normally grows 70 to 80 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 2 to 3 feet

Native Range
From southern New York (Long Island) south to central Florida and west to southern Missouri

Medium deciduous tree

Seasonal Colors
The leaves turn to a variety of colors but typically a yellow-red brown in the fall

Grows best in dry, sandy, clay soils

Classified as intolerant or intermediately tolerant of shade

Similar Species
Black oak, northern red oak, turkey oak, cherrybark oak

Pests and Diseases
Highly susceptible to oak wilt caused by Ceratocystis fagacearum or heart rot fungi that is usually brought about with the onset of fire or tissue damage. Pests include acorn weevils, borers, and bark scarers.

Rebate Eligibility

Of Note
The southern red oak contains tannins that are used in a process to cure leather.

The large size and solid root system of the tree make it useful in watershed protection.


Photo Credits

Jeffrey Reed