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Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Northern Red Oak Bark Northern Red Oak Leaves Northern Red Oak, a fairly common tree in our deciduous forests, is found along many of the Arboretum trails. As the common name implies, it is most prevalent in northern hardwood forests, but is found throughout Tennessee. Its range extends from the Maritime Provinces and eastern Canada south to Alabama and Georgia, and west to Minnesota, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The lobes of the alternate, dark green leaves are bristle-tipped, a characteristic of other members of the red oak group, and turn brick red in the fall. In poor years, however, the leaves are likely to be red-brown to yellow. The acorns are up to 1 in. long and have a cap covering up to 1/4 of the nut. The bark is lightly to deeply furrowed, frequently with light-colored plates running up and down the trunks between the fissures. The acorns are prime food for squirrels, turkeys, deer, black bears, and other wildlife. Although Northern Red Oak frequently produces large crops of acorns, squirrels and other wildlife may consume 80 to 100% of the acorns in any given year. Northern Red Oak is an important lumber tree, with a wide variety of uses in construction and furniture making.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: