Northern Red Oak

The wood of this tree has the highest commercial value of all hardwoods and is used for railroad cross-ties, furniture and flooring. Its leaves turn red in autumn and its acorns mature every other year.

Quercus rubra, commonly called northern red oak or champion oak, is an oak in the red oak group. It is also known as common red oak, eastern red oak, mountain red oak, and gray oak. It is a native of North America and grows from the north end of the Great Lakes, east to Nova Scotia, and south as far as Georgia . Northern red oak is an easily transplanted, popular shade tree and has been extensively planted as an ornamental because of its dense foliage, symmetrical shape and brilliant fall foliage.

Under optimal conditions, northern red oak is fast growing and a 10-year-old tree can be 15–20 feet tall. In many forests, it grows straight and tall, to 90 ft, exceptionally to 140 ft tall, with a trunk of up to 20–40 inches diameter. Trees may live up to 500 years.

Northern red oak is easy to recognize by its bark, which feature bark ridges that appear to have shiny stripes down the center. The leaves are 5-10 inches long and 4-6 inches broad. In autumn they turn a rich red, sometimes brown.

In forest stands, northern red oak begins to bear fruit at about age 25 but usually does not produce seeds abundantly until about age 50. The acorns mature in about 18 months after pollination and occur solitary or in pairs. They are brown when mature and ripen from late August to late October, depending on geographic location. Despite their bitterness, they are an important food for squirrels, deer, turkey, mice, voles, and other mammals and birds.
Northern Red Oak

Northern Red Oak Bark
The northern red oak is one of the most important oaks for timber production in North America. The wood is of high value. Construction uses include flooring, veneer, interior trim, and furniture. The wood grain is so open that smoke can be blown through it from end-grain to end-grain on a flat-sawn board. For this reason, it is subject to moisture infiltration and is unsuitable for outdoor uses such as boatbuilding or exterior trim.

Northern Red Oak Leaf Northern Red Oak Acorn Northern Red Oak Fall Leaf


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