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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

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

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Blairsville, Pennsylvania

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Kaysville, Utah

Orem, Utah

Wytheville, Virginia

Seattle, Washington (2 reports)

Appleton, Wisconsin

Cambridge, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 6, 2016, Timberplot from Blairsville, PA wrote:

The Northern Red Oak is a very valuable tree here in the Eastern US. A forest with a good mix of mature Red Oak and White Oak is an impressive view. The Northern Red Oak provides winter food for many species of wildlife unlike the White Oak whose acorn germinates quickly and is usually consumed shortly after dropping.
The Red Oak generally retains a high timber value and the wood has many applications. I talked to a lumberman in Somerset County, PA who said he once harvested a premier stand of Red Oak where the interior wood was a strong pink color. The lumberman attributed the color to the soil the Oaks were growing in.
I have gathered seed to germinate from an incredible specimen tree, with an enormous, limbless bole and no visible blemish. I chose this tree for it's geneti... read more


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.


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).


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, whi... read more


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.