Oak trees are tall, majestic beauties that add a feeling of elegance to any backyard. But many homeowners don't want to deal with the messy acorns that they leave behind. If you'd love the majestic look of an oak tree in your yard but dread the idea of sweeping up acorns, consider planting a red oak. They only shed their acorns every 2 years, not annually, so you only have half the cleanup. Here's a closer look at this beautiful type of oak tree.
The Red Oak's Appearance
Red oak trees are named for the color that their leaves change in the fall. After staying a deep, rich green all summer, they begin to take on a maroon-red color before turning a brighter red and tumbling to the ground in mid-autumn. Red oak leaves have the classic pinnate shape that you think of when you think of oak leaves; they're pointier than most other oak varieties. The tree itself has a rounded canopy and is great for providing shade. Usually, the trunk is straight, which makes for a very balanced, pristine look.
Planting a Red Oak
Growing a red oak from seed is tough since the seedlings are quite vulnerable when they're young. Your best bet is to buy a 1-year-old or 2-year-old sapling from a local nursery. Select a site where the soil is moist, yet well-drained, and where the tree will get plenty of sun exposure throughout the day. Red oaks will not tolerate shade or overly wet soil.
Once you've selected your site, dig a hole that's twice as wide as your seedling's root ball. Drop the root ball in, and bury it up to the point where the trunk meets the roots. Water the tree in well, and surround it with wood mulch to keep the moisture in the soil. Just be careful not to place the mulch directly against the trunk; leave a little space.
Caring For a Red Oak
Keep the tree well watered during the first year when it's establishing a root system. After this, you should only need to water it during times of serious drought. When the tree has been growing for 2 or 3 years, you'll want to have it pruned. This will ensure it maintains an attractive shape as it grows. Contact a tree-trimming service, like Rivas Tree Service, for more information or assistance.
Red oaks will begin producing acorns when they are a few years old. However, the acorns have a 2-year cycle and only drop in the summer every other year. There are not too many acorns to sweep up compared to other oak varieties, so the work should be minimal in his regard.