There are two main groupings of oak trees, the red oak and white oak. Red oak is an umbrella term that encompasses many individual trees.
Bark: Young red oak trees have a light grey bark that can darken into an almost black color as they age. The bark is smooth and flatter with veins running vertically down the tree. Although, this can vary depending on the species of red oak tree.
Leaves: Red oaks have long leaves with 7-9 lobes on them. The lobes have pointy, long edges that stick out across them. They are thick, dark green and shiny on the top half.
Fruit: Oak trees produce acorns, with red oaks producing them during two growing seasons. The fruit of an acorn is 3/4 of an inch long. The nut has a shaggy-scaled cap on the top half of the green shell. The meat is yellow and more bitter tasting than that of a white oak.
We rate the red oak as a first class tree based on its high demand in current markets. Red oak is a very poplar wood that is used in flooring and furniture.
Benefit to Forest:
Acorns are a natural food source for wildlife with a high nutritional value due to their fat content. Almost all omnivores and herbivores eat acorns as long as they have the ability to open the shell.
Red Oak Group
Red oaks can be distinguished from white oaks by unique characteristics. This includes leaves which have lobes with bristle tips, the bitter taste of the acorns, and germination takes place in spring. Furthermore, the acorns take 2 seasons to mature and the bark is mostly furrowed as compared to white oak bark, which is mainly scaly. Trees in Indiana that are considered a part of the red oak group are the scarlet oak, northern pin oak, black oak, southern red oak, shumard oak, blackjack oak, cherrybark oak, and the pin oak.