Landowner Fact Sheets

northern red oak Quercus rubra play

Northern red oak is an eastern species capable of tolerating a range of sites. Generally, northern red oak is found on relatively moist sites with deep, rich soils. The wood of northern red oak commands high value. The species also provides acorns for wildlife and shade for suburban streets and lawns.

range map Click to see more images. fall color wood grain

Northern red oak stump sprouts profusely and this helps greatly with regeneration. Intermediate in shade tolerance, northern red oak is suitable for shelterwood and group selection methods. The presence of red oak saplings in the understory is very important for successful regeneration. Competition should be removed. Fire may play an important role in successful regeneration.

Northern red oak has a very wide range and appears on a variety of soils, but is generally found on better sites.


A medium sized to large tree that reaches up to 90 feet tall, develops a short trunk and round crown when open grown, straight with a clear, long bole when grown with competition.

Timber Value
Northern red oak is used for flooring, furniture, cabinets, paneling, timbers, agricultural implements, handles, caskets, boats, pallets, slack cooperage, and millwork, fuel and pulpwood.

Wildlife Value
Acorns are consumed by a variety of wildlife. Rabbits, deer, and moose browse on stems and foliage.
Attracts mice, voles, squirrels, deer, turkeys, water fowl and many other birds

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Northern red oak is used for many wood products. Barrels made from northern red oak can not hold water as the wood does not form tyloses. Tyloses are often described as ballon-like swellings capable of clogging vascular cells.

Latin Meaning
Quercus: Latin name / rubra: red

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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.