November Trees of the Month: The Red Oaks

Visiting our nursery during late fall is visually quite stimulating. All the trees and shrubs decked out in their fall foliage. However, the Red Oaks seem to shout out at visitors with their leaves of red, maroon, and orange “Hey Look At Me”! Therefore the Red Oaks were the obvious winners for our November Tree(s) of the Month thanks to their brilliant fall foliage.

We propagate two species of red oaks from acorns collected from both wild populations or local trees planted in isolation.

The Chisos Red Oak (Quercus gravesii) is a New Mexico native tree. It is found growing in the Organ Mountains east of Las Cruces in south central New Mexico. It can produce annual growth of up to 3’per year ultimately reaching 30’ – 35′ tall and 25′ wide.

Leaf color is grayish green. Leaves feel thick,tough, and waxy or leathery to the touch. Leaves turn a brilliant red-maroon, sometimes orange in the fall. Leaves eventually lose these brilliant colors and turn a chocolate brown. Leaves of the Chisos Red Oak often persist through winter into early spring. The spring winds finally persuade the chocolate colored leaves to loosen their grip and fall away from the tree.

The Chisos Red Oak grows well in valley soils where its tap root may eventually reach ground water. It also does very well in more exposed xeric locations like sandy mesa soils. Leaf structure (color, waxy layer, thickness) may be adaptations that allow it to grow well in xeric landscapes. Of course mulching around the tree and occasional deep watering also helps immensely.

The Chisos Red Oak makes a great shade tree. It has deep roots and can be very long-lived. The Chisos Red Oak is best grown in well-drained soils with low to regular water. This oak is Hardy to USDA zone 4.

For more information on the Chisos Red Oak and lots of photos click on the link below to our Blog:

http://www.treesthatpleasenurseryblog.com/2012/11/chisos-red-oak.html

The Texas Red Oak (Quercus buckleyi) is not a New Mexico native but gets as close as West Texas. The Texas Red Oak makes a great shade tree as it can have annual growth of 1′ – 3′ per year ultimately reaching 35’ – 40′ tall and 25′ wide.

Leaf color is green. Compared to the Chisos Red Oak, the leaves of the Texas Red Oak feel thin and papery to the touch. Leaves turn a brilliant red-maroon, sometimes orange in the fall. Leaf color eventually fades and they turn a chocolate brown. Leaves of the Texas Red Oak sometimes persist into December or January when they finally fall away from the tree.

The Texas Red Oak has deep roots and is long-lived. The Texas Red Oak is best grown in well-drained soils with low to regular water. It is slower growing in clay soils. This oak is Hardy to USDA zone 4

About Amanda Melendrez

Hi there! I'm Amanda Melendrez and I am crazy about plants and soil health! I am the daughter of the world renowned Horticulturist and Soil Scientist and the owner of Trees That Please and Soil Secrets, Michael M. Melendrez. Learn how to grow anything, no matter where you live. The mission of this blog is to spread the joy and knowledge of home gardening, agriculture and innovative soil health solutions.