Southern Red Oak


Form in winter

Introduction

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.

Common Name

Southern red oak

Latin Name

Quercus falcata

Leaf

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.

Flower

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

Fruit/Nut

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

Twig/branches

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

Bark

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

Form

Broad, open, well-rounded crown

Size

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

Type

Medium deciduous tree

Seasonal Colors

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

Soil

Grows best in dry, sandy, clay soils

Light

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

$100

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

dogtooth77
USDA
Woodlot
maggie_and_her_camera
Jeffrey Reed