Red Oak - Quercus rubra

The common oak of eastern Canada. It ranges from east of Lake Superior to Nova Scotia and is often planted as a landscape tree. This species grows mixed with other broadleaf trees and is intolerant of shade and competition. Red Oak is distinguished from other species of in the Red Oak group by its shallow acorn cup, reddish buds, and deeply ridged bark on old trees.

Red Oak Tree
Red Oak Tree
The Red Oak is a medium sized deciduous tree. They can grow up to 25 m tall, 30-90 cm in diameter, and 150 years old. This tree has a straight trunk with a symmetrically rounded crown. This is a comparison of Red Oak's between seasons. Photos by Chris Earley.

Red Oak Leaves
Red Oak leaves are 10-20 cm long, with 7-9 lobes separated by rounded notches. The upper surface of the leaves is dull yellowish-green and paler underneath. They turn a deep red in autumn. Photo by Chris Earley.

Red Oak Bud
The terminal bud is shiny, reddish-brown and smooth except for a few brownish hairs at the tip. Twigs are moderately stout and reddish-brown. Photo by Sean Fox.

Red Oak Bark
Red Oak bark is smooth and grey, with long flat ridges. Photo by Sean Fox.

Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Red Oak. 1995-1999.
Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Red Oak. 1995-1999.

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Farrar, J.L.. 1995. Trees in Canada. Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd. Toronto. ON. 504 pp.  

Kershaw, L. 2001. Trees in Ontario: Including tall shrubs. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. AB. 240 pp

Muma, W. 2011. Ontario Trees and Shrubs. [Online] Available:

OMNR, 2011. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: Ontario Tree Atlas. [Online] Available:

OMNR, 2008. Ontario’s Biodiversity: Species at Risk.