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PlantFiles: Northern Red Oak, Eastern Red Oak, Mountain Red Oak, Gray Oak
Quercus rubra

Family: Fagaceae (fag-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Quercus (KWER-kus) (Info)
Species: rubra (ROO-bruh) (Info)

Synonym:Quercus borealis
Synonym:Quercus maxima

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

13 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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6 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Nov 10, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is a common upland forest tree in the Midwest and East US and it is commonly planted in landscapes as it is fairly fast growing of about 2 ft/yr and does not develop a taproot. Unlike the similar Pin Oak, it grows in slightly alkaline soils besides acid soils and is more adaptable. A handsome, wind-firm tree with good bronze-orange to red fall color.

Positive coriaceous On Mar 2, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This eventually becomes a majestic shade tree to 70' tall---one of the very best, and one that should be planted much more often. Its speed of growth is about average for a shade tree---to 2' a year under good conditions. Planted with others of its kind spaced 50' apart, it can form magnificent, cathedral-like spaces. Much preferable to the more frequently planted pin oak.

It's also one of the few large trees whose roots won't interfere with the gardener's desire to grow plants in its shade. An excellent tree for a shade garden. You can even grow decent lawn under its canopy.

Dirr says it's hardy from Z3b to 7(8).

Positive plant_it On May 17, 2012, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Native to North America in the northeastern United States and southeast Canada. It grows from the north end of the Great Lakes, east to Nova Scotia, south as far as Georgia and states with good soil that is slightly acidic.

Beautiful red leaves in autumn. The acorns are extremely important wildlife food and are the primary overwintering food for a great many species of birds and mammals.
Mammals such as white-tailed deer, elk, moose, cottontail rabbits and hares partake of the leaves. The acorns afford a source of nutrition for the eastern chipmunk, white-footed mouse, white-tailed deer, flying squirrel, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, black bear and deer mouse, according to the National Forest Service. Northern red oak's acorns are edible by the northern bobwhite, white-breasted nuthatch, eastern crow and wild turkey, as well as many other bird species. It's the crown jewel of any wildlife garden.

Positive Jamesk On Feb 21, 2009, Jamesk from Seattle, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Very fast growing for an oak. Grows positively brauntosaurian in great age. A good oak for lawn or to garden under. Brilliant red-orange in autumn. A wonderful tree if you have the space.

Positive nlafrance3 On Oct 5, 2008, nlafrance3 from Edmonton, AB (Zone 4a) wrote:

A rare tree in Edmonton, AB because of lack of testing. Any trees that have been planted grow very well. Definitely a tree to look for in the future though. Hardy to zone 3a. Beautiful fall color.

Positive OutlawDJ On Oct 4, 2007, OutlawDJ from Middleburg, PA wrote:

For people in the Northeast, Northern Red Oak is a good choice. It is a fast growing tree and will not be affected by our increasing temps.

Neutral smiln32 On Nov 9, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This tree is a fast grower. It has lovely dense foliage that puts on a real show in autumn. It prefers rich loamy soil and grows well in zones 3-7. It transplants easily and grows well even within city limits (polution tolerant).

Neutral mystic On Sep 14, 2002, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Gets the name because the foliage turns red in fall and the reddish interior wood. A valuable timber tree used for furniture, boards, and flooring.The acorns attract wildlife such as birds,deer and squirrels.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Menlo Park, California
Wilmington, Delaware
Carbondale, Illinois
Champaign, Illinois
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Hampton, Illinois
Valparaiso, Indiana
Iowa City, Iowa
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Calumet, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Lincoln, Nebraska
Reno, Nevada (2 reports)
Binghamton, New York
Raleigh, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Cheshire, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Kaysville, Utah
Orem, Utah
Wytheville, Virginia
Seattle, Washington (2 reports)
Appleton, Wisconsin
Cambridge, Wisconsin

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