Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Shumard Red Oak, Shumard's Oak
Quercus shumardii

Family: Fagaceae (fag-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Quercus (KWER-kus) (Info)
Species: shumardii (shoo-MARD-ee-eye) (Info)

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 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)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

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

Seed Collecting:
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #1 of Quercus shumardii by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #2 of Quercus shumardii by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #3 of Quercus shumardii by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #4 of Quercus shumardii by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #5 of Quercus shumardii by Jeff_Beck

By Paulwhwest
Thumbnail #6 of Quercus shumardii by Paulwhwest

By frostweed
Thumbnail #7 of Quercus shumardii by frostweed

There are a total of 17 photos.
Click here to view them all!


5 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Gardeningman On Apr 3, 2012, Gardeningman from Kingman, KS wrote:

The Shumard Oak is native to Eastern Kansas, but the climate in Eastern Kansas is different than in South Central Kansas, so the jury still out on how well this tree will do in SC Kansas. Right now the Shumard Oak is being mass introduced into SC Kansas without knowing for sure how well it will truly perform. The nurseries have figured out that a tree that is drought tolerant, fast growing, and is supposed to produce bright fall colors sells very well. So it seems that the push for the Shumard Oak in SC Kansas is more about marketing and sales than it is about performance. The perceived performance is that the tree will do well here. I guess we'll know for sure in about 30-40 years.
Personally, I would rather plant a tree that has been proven to do well in my area, even if it does mean "slower" growth. I would rather have a slower growing tree and know it will perform well, than plant an unproven faster growing tree just to have it removed after 30 because it doesn't perform well.

Positive Fires_in_motion On Jan 4, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Wow... Where to even begin putting into words all the stunning attributes of this tree, which was surely sent down to earth straight from Heaven. (I'm an atheist, by the way, but organisms like this one make me waver a bit.) They are said to live for "at least 480 years," have incredible fiery-red fall foliage, have perhaps the most elegant leaf shape of any plant native to North America, are adaptable to a wide range of soils and water situations... even their acorns are little striped works of art that remind me of Faberg eggs. But the best thing about the Shumard Oak, especially here in the Southeast, is its reliability in hurricanes. Their wood is strong, yet, like that of the Live Oak and Baldcypress, it is very flexible in high wind events, allowing them to contort with the wind and not be broken off. Their roots (again like the Live Oak) are also known for being extremely strong, so these trees rarely topple. If you couldn't already tell, I recommend this as a more beautiful and unique alternative to the admittedly-amazing Live Oak. Why every property in Louisiana doesn't have one is mystifying to me. Whenever I'm walking around and come across a Shumard leaf, I immediately get a happy fuzzy feeling all over, and look up to find the mama tree. The way to quickly tell a Shumard leaf apart from a Nuttall leaf is to put your finger into any of the scalloped "holes" on the side of the leaf. Nuttall leaves have more triangular holes, whereas Shumard leaves are totally rounded. (Nuttall Oaks are very similar to Shumards, and the two species are often viewed as being somewhat interchangeable as landscape specimens around here; Nuttalls grow a bit taller, prefer a little less water, have slightly less sexy leaves, and have much drabber fall color.) I've also read that a very helpful way to identify Shumards is by their distinctive yellow-bronze winter/spring leaf buds; most species in the Red Oak family have reddish buds.

I planted four of these bad boys in my yard in 2010 as 7-gallon trees about 7-8 feet tall each. I planted the first three in April and May. I recklessly planted the last one in July (w/ daily high temps. around 90-95) in full sun, but it didn't lose a leaf.

The only native grove of Shumards that I know of is at the boat launch off of Highway 20 in Chackbay; I just discovered this last week, in fact. It is a mixed forest of Bald Cypress, Shumard Oak, Dwarf Palmetto, and many specimens of a bizarre species that appears to be a hybrid of Water Oak and Willow Oak.

Positive dianfig On Jun 5, 2010, dianfig from Mansfield, TX wrote:

We live just south of Arlington Texas and my neighbor has 2 beautiful Shumard Oaks in her front yard. Every year the acorns seed like crazy all over yard. This year I decided to pot some of the seedlings. In one month they have grown 6 inches. I had 2 Silver Maples that I grew from seedlings found in the yard and I was going to plant them last fall. At the insistance of an aborist who was working on our Arizona Ashes last year, I am only keeping the Maples in containers for a while to enjoy their beauty. I was searching for trees to eventually replace the Arizona Ashes which do not have many more years left. I am so excited about the Shumard Oak. He said it will be a great tree to plant in my yard. Does any one know approimately how much this tree grows a year?

Positive micrographics On Jan 27, 2005, micrographics from Moxee, WA wrote:

Our tree was planted about 50 years ago. It is the only tree on our 20 acre farm. To say the least it is the most magnificent tree. We have a swing hanging from it. My 3 children climb it. Our 3 yr old plays under it for hours. Our guinea hens perch in it. It is close to 70 feet tall and 40 feet wide. The trunk diameter is nearly 3 feet. The leaves are everywhere in the late fall and early winter. We have to rake twice but the shade is worth the raking. Our tree's leaves turn bright yellow & red in October or late September. They stay on the tree till December but are brown by the time they fall. We seem to have a late leafing tree. It looks dead almost till late Spring. The leaf buds are visible but as spring comes and ends we initiallly wondered our first year why the tree was so late in leafing. We see the green leaves by May and in September we see large acorns the size of my last thumb digit. The squirrels love the acorns and I've noticed in the winter the darned cottontailed rabbits chew through the hulls of the acorn and eat the meats inside. I just noticed the empty hulls this past week. January 25, 2005. This tree provides great shade in the summer and enormous relief from the sun. We normally get close to 20 days of 100+ temperatures in mid-late summer so the tree is dearly appreciated. It is adjacent to the west side of our home and as a result the home is sheltered from the sun in the afternoon. We have no air conditioning yet but the inside temperature are okay. We have a cement slab floor that acts to cool the home all summer.

This tree is extremely drought tolerant. We are in a desert valley that has a large irrigation project so the desert here has blossomed. Our 20 acreas of field has been planted with hops for close to 50 years. For most of the past 50 years this old tree has had sparse watering. The past 3 years we've been drowning him in water....kinda saying thanks for all the shade. We can see a difference in leaf size with additional watering vs. the size of leaves from the fall when we moved in 3 years ago.

Last summer I noticed an early infestation of aphids. I bought 2 spray bottles of poison with the intent to do a good job. We had a week of 105 degree temps in mid-July and the aphids died. I still have the poison spray (in case they come back this year).

Positive MongoX On Jan 6, 2005, MongoX from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The Shumard Red Oak is not normally recommended for planting west of the Brazos River due to the change from Acidic to Alkaline soil. However, if you're taking acorns from a healthy and robust Shumard growing in acidic soil, then you should be OK. Most would recommend the Texas Red Oak variety for Central to West Texas.

My tree was taken as a inches high seedling grown from one of several very old San Antonio grown trees. Planted in the late 70's it is now very large and healthy - and spreading seedlings which seem hardy when re-planted..

Here's a great public domain article on this subject:

written by Greg Grant, former Bexar County Horticulturist and Mark A. Peterson TFS Regional Urban Forester

Shumard Red Oak Named after a Texas State geologist, Benjamin Franklin Shumard, Quercus shumardii is prized by homeowners throughout the South. In its favored habitat of moist bottomlands, the Shumard Oak may attain heights of 120 feet, although specimens of 100 feet are more frequent. As with most oaks in the red oak subgenus, Shumard oaks are able to grow at fairly substantial rates. With proper care, oaks will grow at a rate nearly equal to those trees perceived as fast-growing (i.e. sycamore or Chinese tallow). Other attributes include its ability to produce a spreading, symmetrical crown and its lack of serious pests. Its finest quality, however, may be the scarlet hues this oak offers each fall. For transplanted Northerners as well as natives, a tree that provides consistent fall color, is a tree to be treasured.

Still, the Shumard oak is not without its faults. True Quercus shumardii is endemic only to those regions east of the Brazos River. Neutral or acidic soils and rainfall greater than 30 inches characterize this area of Texas. When these trees are transplanted in San Antonio, they often exhibit reduced growth rates and chlorosis, that is, yellow leaves. These conditions are exacerbated in areas where construction has occurred or where topsoil (in San Antonio this could mean anything) has been incorporated into the landscape. Both of these activities increase soil pH, which, in turn, limits Shumard oaks ability to absorb iron, and manganese, resulting in the condition called chlorosis. Some Shumard oaks, however, demonstrate the ability to tolerate alkaline soils. Undoubtedly this is due to oak's extreme promiscuity. Oaks readily hybridize with other species in their own subgenus. Shumard oaks often hybridize with Texas red oaks, Quercus texana, resulting in a tree that tolerates alkaline soil better than its parents do.

Botanists constantly quarrel over whether or not Quercus texana is actually a variety of Quercus shumardii. Who cares? We should be concerned whether or not the species will grow well in south central Texas. Some red oaks under the generic name of Shumard may be able to accomplish this feat. Although Shumard oaks has some serious faults, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. Shumard oak is still a good tree for this area within certain parameters. When purchasing a Shumard oak, homeowners should ask where the seed was collected--the farther west, the better. Regarding the native range of Shumard red oak, Robert Vines (in TREES, SHRUBS AND VINES OF THE SOUTHWEST) indicates that it is native on moist hillsides or bottom lands in clay soils in central Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas; eastward through Louisiana to Florida; northward to Pennsylvania and west to Kansas. Correll and Johnson (in the MANUAL OF THE VASCULAR PLANTS OF TEXAS) list its native range to moist forests in the timber region of East Texas and west along waterways to the escarpment of the Edwards Plateau. The problem with Shumard oak is that much of its native habitat is in the East in acid soils. Shumard oaks collected and sold from this acid, high rainfall areas do not do well here. But there are many Shumard red oaks growing on highly alkaline soils, similar to those of south central Texas, in a line running from La Grange through Brenham, Navasota, and College Station, up to Dallas. These areas all have severe problems with iron chlorosis too, yet the Shumard red oak thrives there. This is where acorns should be gathered to produce trees for planting in our alkaline soils.

Unfortunately, many trees have long been sold in the trade as Shumard red oaks which were actually northern red oaks, scarlet oaks, and pin oaks--none of which will grow here as they turn very chlorotic (yellow) and stay permanently stunted. DO NOT purchase a tree labeled as a Shumard red oak unless the nursery can tell you where the acorns were gathered. Luckily a local wholesale grower (Lone Star Growers) collects acorns from an alkaline location. These trees are properly labeled at local retail nurseries as Shumard red oak with a yellow tag in the shape of Texas that reads Lone Star Growers.

To sum up the confusion with Texas red oak (Spanish oak) and Shumard red oak: when looking at a state map, Texas red oak is native west of I-35 and Shumard red oak is native east of I- 35. Although closely related, in its true form, Texas red oak is a small, lacy leafed tree with small acorns, while Shumard red oak is a tall, large-leafed tree with large acorns. What makes it so confusing is that along this Interstate-35 line these two trees hybridize readily and show characteristics of both species.

Two additional items: Quercus texana was changed a few years ago to Quercus buckleyi (Don't ask me why; even botanists have to have jobs). When collecting acorns, collect from large trees growing west of IH 35 and from trees with leaves that have deep sinuses and are nearly symmetrical.

Neutral smiln32 On Dec 6, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This tree can reach a height of 60 - 80'. Foliage in summer is a dark green and in autumn is a lovely red/orange color. It tolerates many soil conditions, including urban settings. It grows quite quickly and makes a great shade tree.

Positive TREEHUGR On Aug 22, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a nice tree with fall color. I noticed one in my neighborhood today that appears to be about 10 years old. My neighborhood is in dire need of shade trees and this is a unique choice for this area. I would even be considered an alternative to a scarlet oak. They can get big, 60-90 feet and can have a broad spreading shape in maturity. The broad leaves are quite large, about 6". Acorns measure .625 - 1.125"

These are known to tolerate poor soils and drought and has been found ocurring mostly in wet sites but also in dry sites. And also a pretty fast grower for an oak but along with that comes a wood that isn't quite as strong as other Quercus. I recommend this be grown in Florida for shade growth rate and foliage, especially as an alternative to exotics.


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

Atmore, Alabama
Saraland, Alabama
Smiths, Alabama
Parker, Colorado
Bartow, Florida
Fort White, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Chicago, Illinois
Kingman, Kansas
Benton, Kentucky
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
La Place, Louisiana
Lutcher, Louisiana
Metairie, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Thibodaux, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Detroit, Michigan
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Piedmont, Missouri
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Cruces, New Mexico
New Bern, North Carolina
Edmond, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Cheshire, Oregon
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Christiana, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Azle, Texas
Brownwood, Texas
Cibolo, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Denton, Texas
Fresno, Texas
Friendswood, Texas
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas
Keene, Texas
Krum, Texas
Mansfield, Texas
New Caney, Texas
San Angelo, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Van Alstyne, Texas
Moxee, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Cambridge, Wisconsin

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America