Quercus coccinea – Scarlet Oak
Botanical Name: Quercus coccinea
Alternate Name: Scarlet Red Oak
The Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea) is a medium to large sized deciduous tree. It is native to the eastern United States. The growth habit is rounded with an open, spreading crown. It grows to a height of 50-70 feet tall with a spread of 40-50 feet.
The Scarlet Oak tree is a member of the group of Red Oaks (Quercus rubra). They are characterized by sharp bristles that grow on the leaf lobes. They also have acorns that develop after two growing seasons, maturing in the spring.
The flowers of the Scarlet Oak are catkins. They are yellowish-green, inconspicuous, and develop in the spring as separate male and female flowers. The male catkins droop and the female catkins are born in clusters or are solitary. The fruits are acorns that grow up to ½-1 inch in size.
The leaves are 3-6 inches in length. They are an attractive, shiny mid to dark green with deep lobes that have sharp edges or bristles on them. In the fall, the leaves turn a radiant, glowing, deep red.
The Scarlet Oak likes to grow in fairly dry conditions. It works well when planted along wide boulevards as a street tree or in lawns when the soil isn’t too damp. This large tree should be planted where it has plenty of space to grow, in higher areas of the landscape with good drainage.
This oak tree is considered a good alternative to plant instead of the Pin Oak, due to its ability to tolerate alkaline soils and less yellowing of its leaves with higher pH soils.