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Northern red oak

Botanical Name:

Quercus rubra

Common Name:

Northern red oak,Chêne rouge,Red oak,American Red Oak,Quercus borealis,Oaks

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Description

In many forests, this deciduous tree grows straight and tall, to 28 m (92 ft), exceptionally to 43 m (141 ft) tall, with a trunk of up to 50–100 cm (20–39 in) diameter. Open-grown trees do not get as tall, but can develop a stouter trunk, up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in diameter. It has stout branches growing at right angles to the stem, forming a narrow round-topped head. It grows rapidly and is tolerant of many soils and varied situations, although it prefers the glacial drift and well-drained borders of streams. In the southeastern United States, it is frequently a part of the canopy in an oak-heath forest, but generally not as important as some other oaks.Under optimal conditions and full sun, northern red oak is fast growing and a 10-year-old tree can be 5–6 m (16–20 ft) tall. Trees may live up to 400 years and a living example of 326 years was noted in 2001.Northern red oak is easy to recognize by its bark, which features ridges that appear to have shiny stripes down the center. A few other oaks have bark with this kind of appearance in the upper tree, but the northern red oak is the only tree with the striping all the way down the trunk.Northern red oak is the most common species of oak in the northeastern US after the closely related pin oak (Q. palustris). The red oak group as a whole are more abundant today than they were when European settlement of North America began as forest clearing and exploitation for lumber much reduced the population of the formerly dominant white oaks.As with most other deciduous oaks, leafout takes place in spring when day length has reached 13 hours--it is tied entirely to photoperiod and will take place regardless of air temperature. As a consequence (see below), in cooler regions, northern red oaks often lose their flowers to late spring frosts, resulting in no seed crop for the year. The catkins and leaves emerge at the same time. The ripe acorns are released from the tree in early October, and leaf drop begins when day length falls under 11 hours. The timing of leafout and leaf drop can vary by as much as three weeks in the northern and southern US. Seedlings emerge in spring when soil temperatures reach 21 °C (70 °F). Bark: Dark reddish gray brown, with broad, thin, rounded ridges, scaly. On young trees and large stems, smooth and light gray. Rich in tannin. Branchlets slender, at first bright green, shining, then dark red, finally dark brown. Bark is brownish gray, becoming dark brown on old trees. Wood: Pale reddish brown, sapwood darker, heavy, hard, strong, coarse-grained. Cracks in drying, but when carefully treated could be successfully used for furniture. Also used in construction and for interior finish of houses. Sp. gr., 0.6621; weight of cu. ft., 41.25 lbs. Winter buds: Dark chestnut brown (reddish brown), ovate, acute, generally 6 mm (⁄4 in) long Leaves: Alternate, seven to nine-lobed, oblong-ovate to oblong, five to ten inches long, four to six inches broad; seven to eleven lobes tapering gradually from broad bases, acute, and usually repandly dentate and terminating with long bristle-pointed teeth; the second pair of lobes from apex are largest; midrib and primary veins conspicuous. Lobes are often less deeply cut than most other oaks of the red oak group. Leaves emerge from the bud convolute, pink, covered with soft silky down above, coated with thick white tomentum below. When full grown are dark green and smooth, sometimes shining above, yellow green, smooth or hairy on the axils of the veins below. In autumn they turn a rich red, sometimes brown. Often the petiole and midvein are a rich red color in midsummer and early autumn, though this is not true of all red oaks. The acorns mature in about 18 months after pollination; solitary or in pairs, sessile or stalked; nut oblong-ovoid with broad flat base, full, with acute apex, one half to one and one-fourth of an inch long, first green, maturing nut-brown; cup, saucer-shaped and shallow, 2 cm (⁄4 in) wide, usually covering only the base, sometimes one-fourth of the nut, thick, shallow, reddish brown, somewhat downy within, covered with thin imbricated reddish brown scales. Its kernel is white and very bitter. Despite this bitterness, they are eaten by deer, squirrels and birds.Red oak acorns, unlike the white oak group, display epigeal dormancy and will not germinate without a minimum of three months' exposure to temperatures below 4 °C (40 °F). They also take two years of growing on the tree before development is completed.   Autumn foliage   Detail of mature bark   Sapling in Hohenlohe, Germany

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Taxonomy

Order

Fagales

Family

Quercus - Oaks

Genus

Quercus

Characteristics

Bloom Time

Spring, Mar, Apr, May

Plant Type

Trees, Native Plant, Poisonous, Tree

Lifespan

Perennial, Woody

Plant Height

More than 100 ft.

Flower

It produces pollen flowers in drooping, elongated clusters. Blooms from April to May.

Fruit

Produces 1-inch long acorns singly or in pairs on a very short stem. The wide cap covers the upper 1/4 of the nut. The tree may reach 40 years of age before producing acorns. Displays from August to October., Red, Brown

How to Grow

Water

Average, Medium

Sunlight

Full Sun, Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day), Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours), Sun, Part Shade

Soil

Well-drained, loamy sands.

Benefits
Attracts

Butterflies

Moths

Pollinators

Small Mammals

Songbirds

Warning

POISONOUS PARTS: Acorns (seeds of nuts) and young leaves. Low toxicity if eaten. Symptoms include stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination.

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