Red Oak: Welcome to squirrel heaven
Red Oaks assume as massive a canopy as they possibly can. So, in a city park where there’s no shortage of sunlight, well, take a look! Just look at those long branches stretched out far and strong. They seem to be saying ‘climb me!’
Take some time now to look at this Red Oak’s bark. Where do you see the smooth, lustrous grey sections? Where is the bark more rough? These two patterns together are a unique way to tell a Red Oak. Why do you think a Red Oak’s bark grows in this way? The patterns in a Red Oak’s bark can tell us a lot about how that tree has grown over time – what stories can you read with your fingers about this tree’s life? Do you see any scars on the trunk?
Red Oaks have large, long-ish acorns with just little hats. Red Oak acorns take two seasons to mature. Can you see any tiny, immature acorns on this tree? Can you find any signs of last year’s squirrel frenzy?
From their tight, dark red buds, leaves will grow first. In May, flowers begin to appear. There will be male catkins and female flowers, and both can be hard to spot. So to find these flowers and maybe an acorn of your very own, keep an eye on Red Oaks through all seasons.