quercus rubra

Northern Red Oak

A tree known for its hardy nature and prolific growth, the Northern Red Oak is a crowd pleaser.


  • Tolerates: Alkaline soil, Clay Soil, Dry Soil
  • Sun: Full Sun
  • Bloom Season: May
  • Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Spread (Min): 60
  • Height (Min): 60
  • Height (Max): 75


The Northern red oak is practically the blueprint for a long-lasting, hardy, and fast-growing tree. Its durability is on display as it is planted and found everywhere from open pastures to polluted city sidewalks.

  • Grows more than 2 feet per year for 10 years
  • Brilliant display of reds in fall
  • Rounded shape that produces plentiful amounts of shade
  • Produces acorns

The young trunk of the oak is grayish but turns brownish- grey with age. Its leaves are simple with seven to eleven lobes, each with a bristle tip. They are dull dark green on the upper surface and a similar color but paler on the underside. As fall arrives, the leaves turn to a russet red and eventually to a bright red.

The male flowers between April and May as hanging catkins. The female flowers are tiny spikes in the axils of the new leaves.

The northern oak tree produces medium brown acorns.

Planting Location: Be aware of the expansive network of roots that will begin to spread just inches above the surface as the beautiful oak grows. These roots that hold down the strong oak will surround the sizable trunk and their strength will easily push through sidewalks and driveways with little thought.

Hardiness: The Northern red oak is as hardy as they come. This strong tree is drought resistant and free of any devastating pests.

Uses on Property: The Northern red oak is versatile: it offers a softening to an urban environment, it provides food sources and shelter to animals, it can be a street or park tree, offers ample shade.

  • Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 – 8
  • Mature Width: 60 – 75
  • Mature Height: 60 – 75
  • Soil Conditions: Acidic soil, moist, well-drained soil
  • Soil Tolerances: Alkaline soil, Clay soil, dry sites
  • Sunlight: Full Sun
  • Drought Tolerance: Good

Since colonial times, the northern red oak has been a favorite of both lumbermen and landscapers.