Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Southern Red Oak, Spanish Oak

Southern Red Oak, Spanish Oak

Quercus falcata

Full sun; medium to dry moisture level; common in poor, dry soil including sandy, sandy loam, and clay loam; acidic pH.

60-80 feet height by 40-50 feet spread; blooms in spring with male flowers as yellowish catkins 3 inches long and female flowers as inconspicuous reddish green spikes; small globular acorns to ½ inch long in fall. Acorns require two growing seasons to mature.

Growth Rate: Moderately fast at 12-18 inches per year

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(30-60) at 32–38 degrees F. Due to a deep taproot, best to simply plant an acorn directly in ground or do container-grown seedlings in deep containers for no more than 1-2 years.

Native Region: Statewide

Large, stately canopy tree with attractive open, rounded crown and a straight trunk. Desirable ornamental tree for streets, residential areas and parks. Insignificant reddish brown fall color. One of the most common upland southern oaks and is common on the drier, poorer soils of the Piedmont but is occasionally found in valleys and bottomland areas along rivers. High drought tolerance. Extremely sensitive to root disturbance.

Acorns provide feed for birds, mammals, rodents and deer. Attracts butterflies. Larval host plant for Banded Hairstreak and White M Hairstreak butterflies.

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