Family: Red Oak
Quercus rubra seems to be one of the best oaks for Australian streetscapes. It is rapidly-growing when water is freely available, and authorities claim that it always has a ‘clean’ appearance in the landscape.
Red Oak is broad-crowned, even when young, and is suitable only for areas where crown growth will not be restricted. Red Oak has been used widely as a street tree, and thrives in most conditions. In both Sydney and Melbourne, Q. rubra grows well in most soils, and will grow extremely quickly if given fortnightly summer irrigation.
Although the North American literature claims brilliant autumn colour for Q. rubra, in Australia the autumn display is muted, with the foliage taking on dark mahogany brown to maroon shades. Not spectacular, but instead quietly elegant.
In summary, it seems that Red Oak is a highly successful street and park tree wherever there is adequate space for its broad-spreading crown.
Typical mature height: 20m
Useful in: avenues, parks, broad streets
Sites for best growth: tolerates most, ample water best