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Quercus coccinea

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Kemper Code:  R700

Common Name: scarlet oak
Zone: 4 to 9
Plant Type: Tree
Family: Fagaceae
Missouri Native: Yes
Native Range: Eastern United States, southern Canada
Height: 50 to 70 feet
Spread: 40 to 50 feet
Bloom Time: April - May  
Bloom Color: Yellowish-green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

Plant Culture and Characteristics

Sources for this plant

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers dry, acidic, sandy soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Scarlet oak is a large tree with a rounded, open habit which eventually matures to 70' tall. Leaves are 3-6" long and deeply cut with bristle-tipped, pointed lobes. Foliage is a glossy green in summer turning to scarlet in fall. Monoecious, with neither male (drooping catkins) nor female (solitary or clustered) flowers being showy. Fruit is an acorn (1/2" to 1" long). Native to southeastern Missouri.

Problems: Click for detailed list of pests and problems.

No serious problems. Leaf spots, anthracnose, canker, mildew, rust, wilts, rots, galls and numerous insect problems have been reported. However, this tree is long-living, durable and considered to be a low-maintenance tree to grow. Scarlet oak is not subject to chlorosis problems as much as the closely related pin oak (Q. palustris).


A stately shade tree for the lawn, particularly in drier locations, with excellent fall color. Also a good street tree. Since it is a large tree, it must be planted in a location where it will have sufficient space to grow upward and spread to its mature size.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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  High resolution image available.