Landowner Fact Sheets

scarlet oak Quercus coccinea play

Scarlet oak is an eastern species commonly found on dry upland slopes and ridges. It is useful for timber products and wildlife sustenance. Scarlet oak has also been planted widely as a shade tree for its ability to withstand dry conditions and its reliable scarlet autumn color.

range map Click to see more images. fall color

Scarlet oak's shade intolerance and relatively rapid growth rate (compared to other species on dry sites) allow for regeneration by clearcutting and seed-tree methods. Stump sprouting will compliment regeneration

Scarlet oak is most commonly found on dry ridges and on southern exposures.


A medium size tree reaching up to 80 feet tall with generally poor form, irregular crown, and many dead branches. A butt-swell is often noticeable, and often is useful in identification.

Timber Value
Scarlet oak is used for construction lumber, flooring, beams, railroad ties, furniture, planking, etc.

Wildlife Value
Acorns are eaten by a variety of animals.
Attracts mice, squirrels, chipmunks, turkeys, bluejays, woodpeckers, deer

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Scarlet oak is a very tough, hardy tree that is often found on dry slopes. Because of its hardiness and scarlet fall foliage, many sources agree, scarlet oak is the choice oak for urban plantings. Paul Cappiello of Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, KY, states the species is easily transplanted, compared to other oaks, and can grow just as fast as other popular shade trees when supplied with a modicum of water and fertilizer.

Latin Meaning
Quercus: Latin name / coccinea: scarlet, Greek "kakkos" (a berry)

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.