Carolinian
and Deciduous Forest Trees

of Southern Ontario

Red Oak
Quercus Rubra

Location in Ontario:
Red Oak grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region and northward.


Autumn leaves, Red Oak, Norfolk County

Genus Quercus: The ten Oaks of Southern Ontario are divided into two categories. Red Oaks have lobed leaves which are pointed and White Oaks have leaves with rounded lobes or simple leaves with sharp teeth. Often, Oak leaves stay on the tree over winter. Oak leaves on the ground are slow to decay, as this is a survival strategy to prevent the growth of other plants nearby. Oaks are monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Oak seeds are acorns. Oak wood is  favoured for flooring and furniture.


8 Oaks of University of Guelph Arboretum
L to R: Shumard, Hill's, Bur, Chinquapin, Dwarf Chinquapin, Red, Swamp White, White. Missing: Black Oak and Pin Oak


Oak Savanna, Turkey Point Provincial Park

Habitat: Red Oak grows on a variety of soils. It is relatively fast-growing.

Landscape Use: Red Oaks are beautiful trees with good fall colours. They are medium to large trees with fast growth. Leaves turn a brilliant red in the fall. Oak leaves do not decay readily and will persist under the tree along with acorns.

Leaves: The leaves have 7-9 lobes, with rounded notches. Some Oak leaves stay on the tree over winter. Oak leaves on the ground are slow to decay. This is a survival strategy to prevent the growth of other plants nearby.

FALL COLOUR WATCH: scarlet

Flowers: Oaks are monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Flowers are small. Pollen flowers are in catkins, while seed flowers occur in small clusters.


Red Oak flowers

Fruit: Oak seeds are acorns; a one-seeded nut with a tough shell. On top of the acorn is a scaly cup which attaches to the tree. Acorns develop during the summer and may stay on the tree for several years, depending on the species. Good seed crops happen every 3 to 5 years, after 25 years of growth.

Bark: The bark has long pale gray ridges, with a "striped" appearance.

Size: This medium to large sized tree reaches up to 30 metres.

Wood: Oak wood is hard and heavy. Oak wood has a beautiful grain. It is used for furniture and flooring.
Specific gravity: 0.52
Janka Hardness: 1290 lb
Wood Comparison Chart


Red Oaks, Norfolk County

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