How to Care for Red Oak Trees

Date May 17, 2022

Author TreeNewal Staff

Texas is home to many different types of oak trees, and the red oak is one of the most popular. These trees are known for their beautiful fall foliage and strong branches, that makes them a popular choice for landscaping. However, taking care of a red oak tree requires some knowledge and effort. Here are TreeNewal’s top tips to help you learn how to care for your red oak tree and keep it healthy.

The Red Oak Tree Basics

There are many species of red oaks in Texas, but the most common red oak is Shumard red oak. The majestic Shumard red oak or Quercus shumardii is a deciduous tree that typically reaches up to 50 to 75 feet high at full maturity though it can grow much, much taller in the right conditions. It grows best in full to partial sun and acidic, well-drained soil. May is when you’ll see these beauties bloom in their yellow-green hue, and if ecology is something important to you, they’re well known for also being excellent pollinators for countless flying fauna!

How to Care for Red Oak Trees

With the typical red oak tree living anywhere from 200 to even 400 years old, it’s never the wrong time to learn a few red oak maintenance tips!

Sunlight Requirements

Red oaks prefer full sun for 4 to 6 hours daily but can tolerate partial sun as well.

Water Requirements

Young, freshly planted red oaks need to be generously watered weekly until they’ve thoroughly established their roots. Once that’s happened, they can handle drought pretty well and won’t need much support unless the drought becomes long-term.


These trees can handle a lot, so it will be anything but common to have to add supportive material like fertilizer for them to stay healthy. If you end up needing to, however, early spring is the best time to spread fertilizer around your red oak and only for red oaks older than 1 year old.

You also may spread a 2 to 3-inch thick layer of mulch to help retain moisture and add the tree equivalent of a multivitamin should your red oak need it. Get the advice of a tree care service to know which will be best for your tree’s situation.


If your red oak tree is younger than 3 years, keep the pruning to a minimum, as they are more susceptible to damage at that age.

For pruning more mature red oaks, focus on removing the branches that have begun growing inward towards the trunk or are tightly overlapping another branch and rubbing together. That rubbing can lead to wounds that may risk disease.

With an oak tree, the threat of fatal oak wilt can be a concern in areas of high transmission, so also only prune in late summer through February when the transmission is less likely… The carrier bugs love the sap that open wounds can bring to the surface when the tree is actively growing.

For the safest results, hire an ISA Certified arborist to take care of this task for the good of you and your red oak tree.

Caring for your red oak tree is not difficult, but it does require some maintenance. Follow our tips, and you will be able to keep your tree looking beautiful and healthy for years to come. Need some help with planting or caring for the red oak trees in your yard? Contact TreeNewal for all the helping hands you’ll need.

If you need advice or assistance with planting or caring for your red oak trees, get in touch with the ISA-certified arborists at TreeNewal and enjoy tailored tree care advice.

To learn more about How to Care for Red Oak Trees, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

at (817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

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