How to Plant Shumard


The Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii) is a fast growing variety of oak tree that grows to 80 feet with a wide spreading habit. It grows well in compacted soils as well as areas with poor drainage. It also tolerates alkaline soils and some drought. The Shumard Oak's outstanding feature is the brilliant red and red-orange foliage it produces in the fall as well as its stately growth habit. It grows best in the southern half of the United States. The large acorns produced by the Shumard Oak are attractive to wildlife.

Step 1

Find a location to plant the Shumard Oak that provides enough space for a large tree that spreads 40 feet or more. The location should receive as much sun as possible, but at least six hours of sun each day. Although Shumard Oaks are tolerant of damp soil, a well-drained location is best because a young tree may die if left sitting in water for any length of time. If the tree you are planting is planted in a container, it can be planted any time of the year if extra moisture can be provided during dry periods. If the tree is bare root or recently dug, it should be planted in the fall or winter when the tree is dormant. Recently dug bare root trees have little chance of survival if planted in the heat of the summer.

Step 2

Dig a hole with a shovel that is three times the size of the root base of the tree and as deep as the tree is planted in the container or was planted in its other location. This helps break up the soil around the newly planted tree so the roots can get established easily. If the tree is bare root, look for a stain at the base of the tree trunk where you can see where the soil level was in its previous location.

Step 3

Set the tree in the planting hole. Manually spread out any roots that look like they will grow in a circle around the root ball. This is very important because roots encircling the tree can eventually strangle the tree and kill it by cutting off the flow of water and nutrients to the upper part of the tree. Add enough soil back into the hole to stabilize the tree and keep it upright while you finish adding the rest of the soil.

Step 4

Add the same soil back into the planting hole that was originally removed from the hole. Add water to the soil as you shovel it back into the hole to create a mush or thin mud that works its way around the entire root system preventing the formation of air pockets.

Step 5

Place a 1 inch layer of mulch over the root base of the tree, leaving 1 inch of space between the mulch and the tree. This is to prevent mildew or other pathogens from moving from the mulch to the young tree. Water the tree every 10 to 14 days for the first year, if there is no rain, by setting a water hose on top of the root base and running a stream of water the width of a pencil for 30 minutes to one hour depending on soil type.

Things You'll Need

  • Shumard Oak tree
  • Shovel
  • Mulch


  • University of Florida: Shumard Oak
  • Ohio State: Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)
  • Tree Help: How to Plant a Tree
Keywords: shumard oak, planting shumards, oak types

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.