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Author Topic: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)  (Read 14962 times)

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Offline WDH

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Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« on: April 12, 2007, 11:51:23 PM »
I wanted to share what I have learned about identifying scarlet oak.  It is in the red oak group.  It can be a good quality tree on a good site, but it tends to grow on the poorer upland sites and can have a good deal of persistent dead limbs on the lower bole.

The key Characteristics:
 
    The bark has very characteristic silver streaks that run vertically up the bole.

    The contrast between the silver streaks and the surrounding area is not very great, although the silver streaks are visually very noticeable.

    The leaves have very deep sinuses between the lobes.  The sinuses extend more than halfway to the midrib of the leaf.

    The sun leaves (leaves that grow at the top of the crown in full sun) have sinuses that extend almost all the way to the midrib, leaving just a very narrow waist.

    The lobes have distinct bristles.  There are fewer bristles on the lobes of the sun leaves versus the shade leaves (leaves that grow lower in the crown that are not subject to full sun).

    The shade leaves are larger and the lobes are more bristly.

    The leaf petioles are very long (up to 2" to 3").

    The acorn is very distinctive with an acorn cup that covers one-half of the nut.  the edge of the cup is noticeably fringed.

    At the tip of the acorn cup, there are usually several distinctive concentric rings.  No other oak has this feature.

Bark with silver streaks:




Leaves:

Shade Leaves.


Sun Leaves.


Comparison of shade leaves and sun leaves.


I don't have an acorn pic because the DanG squirrels got them all :D




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Offline DanG

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2007, 11:31:23 AM »
Great post, WDH!  This is knowledge base material.  I had known little or nothing about Scarlet Oaks before visiting at your house.  You're a good teacher. :)

Besides presenting good info about a particular tree, you have included some terminology that might not have been familiar to many.  I didn't know the indentions along the edge of a leaf were called sinuses. :P  I had heard(read) the term "petiole" quite a bit, but wasn't sure what it was.  Now, I think I'm understanding that it's the little stem that attaches the leaf to the tree.  Maybe I shoulda asked or looked it up, eh? :D :D
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Offline scgargoyle

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2007, 11:48:06 AM »
I'm thinking my land in SC has a lot of scarlet oak, judging from your excellent description and pics. Is scarlet a faster growing type? The biggest trees on the property (24" DBH) appear to be scarlets. The white oaks and hickories are smaller. The land goes from the top of a hill (1100') to the bottom (about 100' lower). It's a little damper at the bottom of the hill, and the trees look different (I've only been there in the winter so far). Anyone have any idea how old a 24" scarlet oak might be? Just curious...
I hope my ship comes in before the dock rots!

Offline WDH

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2007, 09:48:55 PM »
Scgargoyle,

Your area is perfect for scarlet oak.  It is found most predominately in the Piedmont (that area of foothills south of the mountains until it gets really flat).  A 24" scarlet is a fine tree and should be 50 -100 years old, depending on the site.  Could be even older.

DanG,

Your point about the botanical terminology not being familiar to all is a good one.  It is almost like a different language.  Rather than have members look up terms in a tree manual,  it is better to describe things in more practical terms........I am guilty as charged and will try to amend my ways  ;D.     
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Offline DanG

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2007, 10:26:26 PM »
No foul committed and no charges leveled.  I was able to tell what the terms meant by matching your text with the pics. :)  Using the proper terms is an important ingredient of any lesson.  An explanation of them is valuable too, especially if some of your audience is as ignorant as I.
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline Don P

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2007, 08:35:36 AM »
I think we're all guilty of using the specialized jargon of our trade. I like learning those terms and appreciate it when people use them in a context or define them so I understand them when someone uses them later. I do try to define terms at least once in any thread in case there's new folks. We just had "BLO" show up in a wood finishing thread, luckily I already knew they was talking about bovine lip ointment.

Our scarlets are often bell bottomed, I've heard its from chesnut blight.

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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2007, 06:52:20 PM »
Good stuff.. just dropping by. ;)
Move'n on.

Offline WDH

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2007, 09:40:46 PM »
Bell bottomed?  What a descriptive term ;D.  Those trees must have sprouted in the late 60's and early 70's.  I bet none of y'all wore them  :D.  (I did).
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Online beenthere

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2007, 09:54:26 PM »
Found:
BELL BOTTOM TROUSERS - Commonly believed that the trousers were introduced in 1817 to permit men to roll them above the knee when washing down the decks, and to make it easier to remove them in a hurry when forced to abandon ship or when washed overboard. The trousers may be used as a life preserver by knotting the legs and swinging them over your head to fill the legs with air.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Lanier_Lurker

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2007, 11:10:39 PM »
WDH, I certainly wore them - although I mighta been hatched just a little later than you.

I'll have to remember that I can swing my trousers over my head to create a life preserver.  That could come in handy out on the lake.  ;D

Offline DanG

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2007, 12:57:13 AM »
I came along in the pegged pants era.  I do wear bell-bottomed t-shirts, though.
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline scgargoyle

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2007, 06:30:47 PM »
Bell bottomed shirts are the only ones that fit me anymore- somebody musta changed the DanG sizes...
Back on topic- I noticed a number of small to medium trees on my property are somewhat bell-bottomed, and some had sizeable holes in them just above the ground. The trees themselves looked OK other than that. Could that be chestnut blight?
I hope my ship comes in before the dock rots!

Offline DWM II

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2007, 07:40:50 PM »
My wife bought me some of them new fangled stylish GAP jeans with the wide boot cut. I call'em my ugly pants and wear them outside to work in the yard. :)
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Offline WDH

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2007, 10:27:19 PM »
Scgargoyle,

Not likely.  Oak has its own blights and cankers.  They are probably getting it honest, not from chestnut blight. 
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Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2007, 10:55:23 PM »
Dan has made me get my old dendro book out, DanG, I hate that.  I got to thinking about some of the multiple leaf designs in oaks, and need to take the camera with now to get some of the shots of "three in one" trees.
The Ranger, home of Texas Forestry

Offline WDH

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2007, 11:01:51 PM »
Being in an East Texas bottomland today, I can assure you, TR, that you are exactly right.  I had to look up three times at the leaves before I could decide what I was looking at.  Surely, walking around those Texas bottomland water oaks (in a circle) while I was looking up in the crown must be what made me dizzy (or was it that the fine Crown Royal you treated me with tonight...........no, it had to be the water oaks :D).
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Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2007, 11:55:36 AM »
You old coots sure have better eyes than I!  Or maybe your oaks are shorter?  I have to carry a small pair of binoculars with me to see the leaves on the first branch in most of my oaks clear enough to differentiate the reds. 
One With Wood
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Offline WDH

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2007, 09:41:07 PM »
Old coots??????????  DanG probably resembles that remark :D.  (Me too).
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2007, 04:31:24 AM »
I wonder if an 'old coot' is old enough to be called an 'old fart'.  :D ;D
Move'n on.

Offline DanG

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Re: Identifying Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2007, 10:03:34 AM »
I think "old coot" is a step beyond "old fart," just prior to "coffin dodger." :-X
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."


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