Trees #4, Northern Red Oak

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While Sugar Maples are the most common hardwood in our area and have provided a great deal of colour this Fall (see Trees #3, Sugar Maple), the Northern Red Oak (quercus rubra) is coming into its own. We don’t have very many large specimens of these beautiful trees on the property but there are some good sized ones and quite a large number of small ones are springing up at the edges of several fields as part of the natural reforestation of the abandoned pastures. We do want to see the hardwood forests expand on the farm and definitely will leave these younger trees.

In the past I had difficulty in telling the difference between Northern Red Oak and Black and White oaks but this Fall have made progress in this area.

The leaves of the Northern Red Oak are somewhat distinctive:

Northern Red Oak (quercus rubra) leaves are less rounded than the leaves of White Oak but instead have sharp points (or barbs) and have fewer, general narrower lobes, than do Black Oak leaves.


But even more distinctive are the acorns:

The Northern Red Acorns are shorter than the long acorns of White Oak and have a much more shallow cap than do the Black Oak acorns. While the caps of Black Oak acorns are like deeper bowls, the caps of Northern Red Oak acorns are more like dinner plates with a slight rim.


Northern Red Oak, like other oak, often have massive trunks and strong horizontal branches, giving the classic “oak” shape.


Our favourite oak tree in the area is growing about 1 km down Morrison Point Road from us.

Northern Red Oak growing about 1 km from our place is much redder than most growing in the area.


We have some Northern Red Oak that are not yet as large, but are well on their way to becoming impressive trees, such as this one:

Northern Red Oak growing at the edge of our largest wet area. It is more typical of the colours that we have seen thus far.


A large number of young oak spring up in various areas seems to indicate a good future for Northern Oak on our property.

Probably planted by a squirrel a few years ago, this young Northern Red Oak is one of many small and medium sized trees springing up on the edges of our abandoned pastures. Our farming activities will be largely confined to the middle of those pastures so that we can let the hardwood forest expand.


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