The Northern Red Oak is the official tree of the State of New Jersey!
Quercus Rubra, or Northern Red Oak is commonly referred to as a Red Oak. The tree is named for the reddish color observed in the wood. The fall foliage can also be red, however yellows and orange can also be observed. Red Oak trees provide shelter for many different types of wildlife, and the seedlings, leaves, and acorns are also an important source of food for many animals.
The Red Oak prefers slightly acidic soil. It is a fast growing tree, and typically can grow to be approximately 90′ tall and 3′ in diameter! The bark of the tree is dark reddish grey brown with broad rounded or scaly ridges. The winter buds are also a dark reddish brown, while the leaves are alternating 7/9 lobes, oblong and any where from 5″-10″ long.
Red Oak trees are a source of hardwood lumber because the grain of the wood is strong and durable. Red Oak is typically used in furniture or flooring. The strong, tight course grain also makes the species an excellent source of firewood!
Unfortunately, many Red Oak’s in our area have become infected with Oak Gall, which is caused by a tiny non-stinging wasp. Gall is not aesthetically pleasing on a tree, and it will cause many branches to die, and the ultimate death of the tree. (Check out our August 10, 2014 blog to see a picture of oak gall.) It is of course, advantageous to remove branches affected by gall for the overall health of the tree, safety, and the overall beauty of the tree.