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.

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