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Quercus rubra


Common name: Red oak
Synonyms: Quercus borealis
Origin: North America
Plant type: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Code of conduct: Annex II
Invasive status (ISEIA protocol): Watch list
Main ornemental function: Ornamental tree


Deciduous tree up to 20 - 30 m tall. Large leaves, simple, alternate, oblong in shape with 7 to 11 lobes, green coloured first then reddish in autumn. On young stems, bark is smooth, older bark develops wide, flat-topped ridges and shallow furrows. Fuits are acorns. Attractive for small mammals


Dispersal capacities of Q. rubra are medium. It reproduces by seeds, dispersed by wind. Regeneration is high, but its potential to colonise semi-natural habitats through long-distance dispersal is uncertain in Belgian eco-climatic conditions. This species is voluntarily planted in forests.


Often planted in parks and woods, Quercus rubra is reported to colonise woodlands and forest margins, especially on moist acidic sandy or loamy soils. It is tolerant to shade conditions.


Species classified B3 in Belgium. Invasion cases are reported in Eastern Europe. In Belgium, date are lacking concerning the environmental impact of Q. rubra. Where planted, red oak recruitment rate is very high and young trees can form a dense understorey excluding ground vegetation and other tree species. Red oak is characterised by a species-poor phytophagous and saproxylic community in comparison to native oaks. Litter is hardly degraded and favours soil acidification. The species has also been reported to accelerate colonisation of open habitats near forest edges. For more information, click here


Avoid planting this species near forests (acidophilous beeh or oak forests), especially in the vicinity of protected areas (natural reserves, Natura 2000 sites, etc.).

Possible native alternative

Main ornemental function

Ornamental tree

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