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How to Plant Red Oak Trees

The red oak is a deciduous tree native to many parts of North America. It grows natively in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. The trees grow quickly and can reach a maximum size of 80 feet tall with a trunk 2 feet to 3 feet in diameter. Red oaks get their name from the reddish hue of the underside of their bark. The wood from red oak trees is commonly used in furniture, flooring and other wood products. They are also commonly planted as ornamental trees. As long as you provide the proper conditions and setting, you should have success growing a red oak.

Find a location to plant your red oak tree. They grow best in well-draining soils, and they prefer north, east or northeastern exposures.

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the sapling's entire root system. It's best to use red oak saplings with a long and straight root system.

Set the red oak in the hole, taking care not to let the roots gets smashed or damaged. If the roots are not set carefully, the tree may not grow to its potential.

Pack the dirt and surrounding soil back into the hole, taking care to remove all the air. Air bubbles can hinder a plant from reaching its potential.

Water the sapling immediately after planting so it begins to establish roots in its new location. Water the plant once or twice a week for a couple of months after planting to help it become established.


Red oak seedlings will grow best with some shade protection in the first two of three years. After this, they will need plenty of sun to grow to their full potential.

Red oaks are considered easy to transplant. If your tree outgrows its location or would do better in another area, it should thrive after transplanting.

Red oaks do not generally produce acorns for 20 to 25 years after planting, and a full crop of acorns will not be produced for 40 to 50 years.

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