Red Oak Leaf

Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Other Common Names: American red oak, black oak, buck oak, Canadian red oak, eastern red oak, leopard oak, Maine red oak, mountain red oak, northern red oak, red oak, Spanish oak, spotted oak, southern red oak, water oak, West Virginia soft red oakRed Oak Board

Northern red oak (Quercus rubra), also known as common red oak, eastern red oak, mountain red oak, and gray oak, is widespread in the Eastern United States 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 oak and is an easily transplanted, popular shade tree with good form and dense foliage. The sapwood of red oak is white to very light brown, while the heartwood is reddish brown. Red Oak wood has a course texture; it is heavy, straight-grained, hard, tough, very stiff, and strong. Fast-grown red oak, with wide rings, is stronger and heavier than slow-grown red oak.

THE TREE: Red oaks can reach a height of 125 ft (38 m), with large diameters. The bark is smooth, dark grey to dark brown on young trees; on older trees the bark is thick and grey to brown; broken by shallow fissures into regular, flat, smooth-surfaced, vertical plates. The leaves are 5 to 9 inches in length while being 4 to 6 inches in width, they are broader towards the tip; divided into 7 to 9 lobes, each extending 1/2 way to the mid-rib; each lobe is somewhat coarsely toothed and bristle-tipped, dull green above, paler below.

WOOD CHARACTERISTICS: The sapwood of red oak is white to very light brown, while the heartwood is reddish brown. Oak wood has a course texture; it is heavy, straight-grained, hard, tough, very stiff, and strong. Fast-grown oak, with wide rings, is stronger and heavier than slow-grown oak.

WOOD PRODUCTS:Red Oak Distribution Map 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, fenceposts, veneer, furniture, cabinets, paneling, flooring, caskets, and pulpwood. Northern red oak has a high fuel value and is an excellent firewood.

GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Northern red oak is widely distributed throughout much of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. It grows from Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick southward to southwestern Georgia and Alabama. Northern red oak extends westward through Minnesota and Iowa, south through eastern Nebraska and Kansas to eastern Oklahoma . It occurs locally in eastern and southwestern Louisiana and western Mississippi.


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