The Red Oak is one of the most common oak trees of eastern North America. It is a major element of the forests of the eastern and midwestern United States. It is widely grown as a street tree and in parks, lawns and yards. Quercus rubra is a durable and long-lived tree. It is commonly called red oak or northern red oak. The foliage turns a rich red to a brownish-red or yellow or orange in the autumn. It is a medium sized, deciduous tree with a rounded to broad-spreading, often irregular crown. Typically grows at a moderate-to-fast rate to a height of 50-75' (often larger in the wild). Dark, lustrous green leaves (grayish-white beneath) with 7-11, toothed lobes which are sharply pointed at the tips. Small flowers in separate male and female catkins appear in spring. Fruits are acorns (with flat, saucer-shaped cups) which mature in early fall. It is easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, acidic soil in full sun. Prefers fertile, sandy, finely-textured soils with good drainage. Hardy in zones 4-8.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours.
- Put the seeds in a ziplock bag.
- Put the bag in the refrigerator and leave it there for 2 months.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot.
- Sow the seeds 1 inch deep in the soil.
- Water the soil so that it is moist but not wet.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.