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Red Oak - Quercus rubra

Red Oak - Quercus rubra

Quercus rubra, or Northern Red Oak, is a perennial hardwood tree native to Michigan and the UP. Ours are first-year saplings from UP genotype acorns. USDA Forest Service describes it as a "popular shade tree with good form and dense foliage" that grows on a variety of soils.

It gets its name from brilliant red fall foliage. Eventually, in 50 to 100 years, it can reach 60 to 100 feet in height.


Oaks are a keystone host plant - meaning they host (are eaten by) more moth and butterfly caterpillars than ANY OTHER SPECIES in our area. Oaks can host upwards of 400 different species of insect on a single plant. Combine that with their large size and they have remarkable abilty to host insects and feed birds. Most birds, from chickadees to hummingbirds to warblers to woodpeckers, eat and feed their young insects such as those that live on oaks.


Planting an oak is possibly the single best thing you can do to help the environment, stop the decline of pollinators and beneficial insects, support birds, sequester carbon, reduce soil temperature, and retain moisture. All from one single little plant. And don't be daunted by the fact that it is little. Caterpillars can make use of an oak no matter how small, and oaks are designed to toloerate such munching.


"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." - Chinese Proverb


Want more inspiration, coupled with well-researched data? Check out The Nature of Oaks, by Doug Tallamy. As Tallamy says, you don’t need a 100 year old oak tree in order to enjoy having an oak. The second photo here shows that something has already been eating this two month old seedling. Take pleasure in the species that come to eat the leaves, and birds that come to eat the herbivores. NEW: purchase a gift set of an oak seedling plus The Nature of Oaks!

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