Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Shumard Oak, Shumard’s Oak, Swamp Red Oak, Southern Red Oak

Shumard Oak, Shumard’s Oak, Swamp Red Oak, Southern Red Oak

Quercus shumardii

Full sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; grows best on rich, loamy soils but tolerates a wide range of soil including sandy, sandy loam, clay loam and clay; acidic pH but will tolerate neutral pH without getting iron chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves where the veins remain green).

40-60 feet height by 30-40 feet spread; blooms in spring when leaves emerge with greenish catkins; egg-shaped acorns, ½ to 1 inch long, with a flattened, more-or-less shallow cup, in fall. Acorns require 2 years to mature.

Growth Rate: Moderately fast

Maintenance: All oaks are susceptible to a large number of diseases, including oak wilt, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests including scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils. Notwithstanding these problems, oaks are generally considered to be low maintenance trees.

Propagation: Seed germination code C(60-90) at 34-41 degrees F. but best to sow outdoors on site as soon as acorn is ripe. Fibrous root system makes it easy to transplant.

Native Region: Statewide

Medium sized oak that makes a handsome shade or specimen tree. Adaptable tree that is good in urban areas and tolerates poor drainage, compacted soil and drought. Leaves remain green long into fall and then turn a deep orange-red. Known to reach at least 480 years of age. This is a lowland tree typically growing on moist, well drained soils associated with large and small streams, along lakes and on edge of swamps but also occurs on upland sites. Generally intolerant of flooding. Begins to produce fruit at about 25 years of age, with good crops every 2-3 years. Cultivars available.

Very high wildlife value. Attracts numerous species of songbirds, game birds, deer and squirrels. Attracts butterflies. Larval host to Horaces Duskywing butterfly.

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