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Northern Red Oak, A Common Tree in North America

Quercus Rubra One of the Most Common North American Trees


Northern red oak, Quercus rubra, is widespread in the East and grows on a variety of soils and topography, often forming pure stands. Moderate to fast growing, this tree is one of the more important lumber species of red oak and is an easily transplanted, popular shade tree with good form and dense foliage.

1. The Silviculture of Northern Red Oak

Northern red oak is an important source of hardwood lumber. Its wood is heavy, hard, strong, coarse-grained, and at least moderately durable. When properly dried and treated, oak wood glues well, machines very well, and accepts a variety of finishes. The wood of northern red oak has been used to make railroad ties, fence posts, veneer, furniture, cabinets, paneling, flooring, caskets, and pulpwood. Northern red oak has a high fuel value and is an excellent firewood.

2. The Images of Northern Red Oak

Forestryimages.org provides several images of parts of northern red oak. The tree is a hardwood and the lineal taxonomy is Magnoliopsida > Fagales > Fagaceae > Quercus rubra. Northern red oak is also commonly called red oak, eastern red oak, mountain red oak, and gray oak.

3. The Range of Northern Red Oak

Northern red oak is the only native oak extending northeast to Nova Scotia. It grows from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec, to Ontario, in Canada; from Minnesota South to eastern Nebraska and Oklahoma; east to Arkansas, southern Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina. Outliers are found in Louisiana and Mississippi.

4. Northern Red Oak at Virginia Tech

The Leaf: Alternate, simple, 5 to 8 inches long, oblong in shape with 7 to 11 bristle-tipped lobes, sinuses extend 1/3 to 1/2 of the way to mid-vein, generally very uniform in shape, dull green to blue-green above and paler below.

The Twig: Quite stout, red-brown and glabrous; terminal buds multiple, quite large, conical, and covered with red-brown, mostly hairless scales but terminal scales may bear some frosty pubescence.

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