Northern red oak, aka Quercus rubra, is one of North America's most impressive oaks, which is saying quite a lot as North America is truly blessed with the variety and majesty of its oak trees. Northern red oak is one of the faster growing oaks with handsome dark green, sharply lobed leaves which turn attractive shades of red, yellow and brown before falling in autumn. This mighty tree is also quite adaptable to most conditions, including urban and industrial, though it does prefer acidic soil. But as nice as a Northern red oak may be, there is a cultivar of this excellent tree that is simply stunning and this is the Golden oak, or Quercus rubra 'Aurea'.

Golden oak is brilliant in spring when intense yellow leaves emerge to contrast dramatically with the black trunk. There is hardly a bolder spring show imaginable, even if the tree only grew to 10 feet, but Red oaks often grow to 75 feet with a spread of 75 feet. These leaves are handsomely cut and change to yellow-green in the summer and finally a wonderful orange for autumn. Of course, at 75 feet, it's obviously not a tree for the small property. It's better suited to the country and to parks and large common areas. But as a spring and autumn specimen, it makes a striking contribution to the landscape.

Golden oak requires minimal pruning and is largely pest and disease free. It grows successfully in sun or part shade, in lime-free soil that is well drained. It thrives across most of the US, southernmost Ontario in Canada, the UK, parts of Australia and New Zealand.

As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.


Golden oak

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