Red oaks are native to North America, ranging from the eastern edges of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, to the east coast and southeastern Canada through the great lakes and Nova Scotia. They range as far south as Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. They prefer somewhat acidic, moist, and well-drained soils, but can also tolerate alkaline soil, clay soil, and dry sites.
Origin, history, and uses:
The Northern Red Oak (sometimes called champion oak) is a large native decidious tree growing 60 to 90 feet high and up to 2 & 1/2 feet in diameter with a rounded crown. It was first introduced to small areas in Western Europe, where it can frequently be seen cultivated in gardens and parks. The largest known Red Oak in Ohio has a height of 92 feet, crown spread of 115 feet and a circumference of 335 inches. Northern Red Oak is also the state tree of New Jersey. Ornamental use includes the placing and growing of red oaks in parks and large gardens as a specimen tree. As seen here, it can also be used as a lawn tree. It is also of high importance in the timber production in North America. Quality red oak is of high value as lumber and veneer, and defective logs are used as firewood.
The Northern Red Oak is a deciduous tree with a long lifespan from around 200 to 400 years. Its leaves change color from green to brown in the fall to brown and may turn a brilliant red color before the leaves fall off.