Red Oak


Red Oak ( Quercus rubra):

Description:

Our provincial tree and only native oak is now quite rare and primarily found in scattered areas around Charlottetown, Tracadie and Georgetown. The largest specimen on P.E.I., a 5 ft. (1.6 m) diameter giant in Charlottetown’s Royalty Oaks, fell to the ground in 1994. Red oak leaves are deeply cut with pointed lobes. Some oaks around churches and homes look like red oak but are actually scarlet or black oaks. It can be hard to tell them apart (and they can hybridize) so if you are collecting from these areas get a leaf sample and acorns and check them with a good field guide.


Growing Conditions:

Red oak is a fast-growing tree and makes good growth in almost all well- drained soils. It can grow in full sun or partial shade.

Propagation:

Acorns should be collected off the tree when some have already started to fall to the ground, usually mid-September to late-October. Seeds can be visually inspected and those with holes discarded. Another method is to put them in large buckets of water and keep only the ones that sink. If you use raised beds with wooden sides and can use hardware cloth to protect the acorns from squirrels, fall planting works well. Otherwise store in a stratification bed (see page 20) and spring plant as soon as the ground is workable. Place acorns every 2 in. (5 cm) in rows 6 in. (15 cm) apart, at a depth of 1 in (2.5 cm). Oaks grow long tap roots, so either plant seedlings out the second spring, or transplant them to another bed after pruning the tap root to 6 in. (15 cm). Red oak responds well to pruning. If the seedling does not have a straight, single stem, it can be pruned back almost to the ground in the spring. One or more sprouts will come up and these can be pruned to give the desired structure.

Wildlife Uses:

As you will no doubt experience if you plant any amount of red oak, snowshoe hare love to browse oak and red squirrels feast on the acorns. As well, blue jays, grackles, woodpeckers, ruffed grouse and many other birds and small mammals favor acorns, making red oak one of our most important wildlife trees.

Areas of Usage:

Given its status as provincial tree, its wide range of uses, quick growth and high value, red oak is at the top of our list for tree planting. It can be used in reclaiming fields, especially if there is some alder present, and also works well in diversifying existing conifer plantations. At Macphail Woods we use it in almost all of our forest plantings, except in wet conditions or under dense shade. The wood is hard and heavy and one of the most valuable that can be grown here. It is used for furniture, flooring and interior finish work. Red oak is also a premier tree for planting around homes and can be used in windbreaks along with other deciduous and coniferous trees.

Additional Information:

Red Oak, at one time widely distributed in the hardwood areas of PEI, is now confined to small scattered areas around Charlottetown, Tracadie and Georgetown. Around here, it seldoms exceeds 60 feet in height with a diameter of 16 inches. Growing in the forest the trunk is tall and frequently clear of branches for more than 2/3 of its length. Open grown trees develop broad-rounded crowns of stout branches. It is a fast growing tree and will do well on a wide variety of soils, but it prefers a well-drained one. It is commonly found with white birch, poplars, and white pine. Trees that grow on poor sites are usually low and scrubby. The wood is not as resistant to decay as the white oak, nor is it suitable for tight cooperage. It is mainly used for flooring, interior finish and furniture.

Upcoming Events

Jul
6
Mon
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Young Ecologists Se...
Summer Camp: Young Ecologists Se...
Jul 6 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 10 @ 3:00 pm
Young Ecologists: Session One This camp will begin to introduce the campers to the amazing complexity of our native Acadian forests. They will dissect owl pellets, take part in forest restoration planning and plantings and
Jul
13
Mon
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Nature Discovery Se...
Summer Camp: Nature Discovery Se...
Jul 13 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 17 @ 3:00 pm
Nature Discovery: Session One This camp will introduce the children to the woods, stream and native tree nursery that surround our Nature Center. The campers will delight in learning to use all their senses to
Jul
20
Mon
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Becoming a Naturali...
Summer Camp: Becoming a Naturali...
Jul 20 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 24 @ 3:00 pm
Becoming a Naturalist Session One This camp focuses on encountering and describing the natural world. Through the use of art and other hands-on outdoor activities, they’ll expand their understanding of life in the woodlands, waterways,
Jul
25
Sat
10:00 am Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Jul 25 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Come on out and learn about the native and introduced mammals found on PEI, as well as a brief look at some of the mammals we’ve lost. After a brief slideshow, we’ll head off to
Jul
27
Mon
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Bushcraft Ecology A...
Summer Camp: Bushcraft Ecology A...
Jul 27 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 31 @ 3:00 pm
Bushcraft Ecology Ages 12-14 These campers will delight in learning survival skills such as one-match fire making, shelter building, rope making with natural fibres, and tracking animals. Touching on plant and tree identification, campers will

Nursery Catalogue

Calendar of Events

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to our Mailing List