The red oak is one of the largest and most important timber trees. One of the fastest growing of the oaks, it attains a to 80 feet and a diameter of two to three feet. It has a wide, spreading head with few far reaching branches. Found growing over southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States, it reaches west to central Minnesota, eastern Nebraska and Kansas. It is found over most of Iowa on a variety of soils, except on the drier clay uplands. It prefers moist, rich soils on north, east or northeast exposures.
The tree has a single, lobed leaf with seven to eleven pointed or bristly-tipped lobes. The lobe sinuses reach one-half way to mid-vein. The leaves are thin, firm, dull green above, yellow-green below, varying considerably.
The fruit is a large, broad, rounded acorn with a very shallow disk-like or saucer-shaped cup or cap.
The twigs are small, slender, greenish brown to dark brown. On young branches the bark is smooth and gray to greenish. On the trunk it breaks into long, narrow, shallow ridges flat and smooth on top. The underbark is light red.
Bark: reddish brown when young; mature tree is dark, furrowed and often laced with broad shiny strips (ski trails).
Height: 70 to 90 ft.
Trunk Diameter: 2 to 4 ft.
Longevity: 300+ yrs.
Range: eastern U.S. except for the south Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains
Fun Facts: Acorns provide a food source for numerous birds and animals: Ruffed grouse, nuthatch, blue jay, wild turkey, red, gray and fox squirrels, bears, deer, raccoons.
This key was developed by "bt" in June 1982. It was put into HTML format by Stephen Ostermiller in July 1997. Copies of the entire guide in zip format that may be taken to camp on a laptop are available to those who write.