red oak also is known as Spanish oak or red oak. It is found
on higher ridges of the Coastal Plain and throughout the Piedmont.
It seldom is found above 2,000 feet elevation. Its habitat often
is dry hills of poor, sandy or gravelly soils. Occasionally,
this tree is found along streams in fertile bottoms, where it
reaches its largest size.
Southern red oak trees usually grow to a height of 60 to 80
feet and a diameter of 2 to 3 feet; however, heights of over
100 feet are not uncommon. Its large spreading branches form
a broad, round, open top. The bark is rough, though not deeply
furrowed, and varies from light gray on younger trees to dark
gray or almost black on older ones.
Leaves are of two different types: (1) irregularly shaped lobes
that are mostly narrow and bristle tipped, with the central
lobe often being the longest; or (2) pear-shaped with three
rounded lobes at the outer end.
The leaves are dark lustrous green above and tan and downy beneath.
This contrast is strikingly visible in a wind or rainstorm.
They average 5 to 9 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide.
The flowers appear in April while the leaves are unfolding.
The fruit ripens during the second year. The small rounded acorn,
about 1/2 inch long, is set in a thin, saucer-shaped cup that
tapers to a short stem.
The wood is heavy, hard, strong and coarse-grained and is less
subject to defects than most other red oaks in the Piedmont.
It is used for rough lumber and for furniture, chairs, tables,
etc. It is a desirable timber tree, especially on poorer, drier