Scarlet oak - Quercus coccinea


Scarlet oak, or Quercus coccinea, is a medium-sized deciduous tree native to North America; the adult specimens can reach 15-20 meters in height, and have a fairly rapid growth, which gives this essence a particular interest as trees in parks and in street furniture, even as a shading tree. It has an erect stem, well branched, with brown bark, furrowed by deep fissures and roughness; the crown is at first pyramidal, it becomes roundish with the passing of the years, always maintaining a disordered appearance. The leaves are dark green, slightly lighter on the lower side, leathery and shiny, becoming bright red in autumn; the color lasts for a few weeks. The shape of the leaves is oval, furrowed by very deep incisions, which divide each leaf into 5 lobes of different shape, with a slightly wavy edge. The male inflorescences are long kittens, gathered in small tufts, while the female ones are small white-greenish, inconspicuous flowers; both appear in the spring on the same tree; the flowers are followed by the fruits, large green acorns, which become greyish-brown when ripe.


The trees of quercus coccinea they develop without problems in any position, preferring places with good insolation; they do not fear the cold, although it may be necessary to shelter from cold and wind the young specimens recently placed at home: it is sufficient to cover the plant with non-woven fabric during the most rigid winter weeks.
Red oak is an easily cultivated tree, very common in America and Europe; it is not very suitable for small gardens, although there are small varieties with a more limited development. If red oak is a species that you particularly like, you can think of growing dwarf species in your green space in front of your home and enjoying the sight of your beloved oak every day.


The plants of quercus coccinea at home for a long time generally they are satisfied with the rains, although they may need watering in the event of long periods of drought during the summer months; very young specimens, recently placed at home, need watering from March to September, to be provided when the soil has been dry for several days. The irrigation of these species, in case of drought or arid climate, must take place exclusively by watering it at the root. Avoid excesses and keep the soil dry for a long time.


Place the scarlet oak in a place with a soft, dissolved, deep and very well drained soil; once the position in which to bury an oak is decided, it is convenient to make a pit of good size, and work the soil mixing little sand, little manure and a good quantity of good quality universal soil, so that the new roots sink in a not too compact ground. Red oak is a species that does not tolerate too dry climates and prefers cool summers and rainy winters. Unlike other oaks, it also does not tolerate areas of shade or partial shade, nor the presence of other plants in the vicinity. In this way the oak can be better expanded if not surrounded by other species.


In autumn it is possible to take scarlet oak cuttings, preferring branches not yet completely lignified; in autumn it is also possible to sow the acorns, avoiding to completely bury them. We remember that the acorns do not germinate with great ease, it is therefore advisable to lightly scratch the surface with sandpaper, to allow the water to penetrate inside them, also remember to sow more acorns, because the young oak buds dry with large ease.

Scarlet oak - Quercus coccinea: Pests and diseases

These large trees generally bear pest attack without problems; only wood and important branch cancers can compromise an entire plant. As with other oak varieties, Quercus coccinea can also manifest rots and attacks of parasites such as aphids and processionaries. To allow the plant to grow at its best, it must be positioned or cultivated in a ventilated and cool place. Today, one of the main problems concerning this species is the "Oak Puzzle Disease". It is a general weakening of the plant that manifests itself with the loss of leaves and the drying of the branches due, according to the most recent studies, to pollution, drought and alterations of the meteorological conditions occurred in the last decades.