Ever since June 13th, 1950, the official state tree of New Jersey has been the Red Oak — the Quercus borealis maxima, as it’s known to horticulturists and arborists. Find out why the Red Oak tree was chosen and what characteristics have continued to make it special to our state.
Why it was Chosen as the Official State Tree
Why the red oak? It’s considered to be the tree that’s most representative of the Garden State because it adapts beautifully to the state’s soils and is compatible with all native shrubs and evergreens. The members of the one hundred and seventy-fourth legislature also recognized the many impressive attributes of this beautiful species, such as
- its dignity and majesty
- its beautiful red fall color
- its long life
- its lovely structural shape
- its great resistance to disease
- its commercial usefulness
Red Oak trees permit people to grow grass easily and successfully under its canopy and is often considered the “Mighty” Red Oak because it symbolizes a quiet, but steady strength and fortitude.
The Red Oak is a pointy-leafed specimen that produces acorns abundantly, which aside from keeping squirrels and chipmunks happy and well-fed, was also an important source of food to the native Americans of New Jersey, which included the Abenaki, Malecite, Passamaquoddy, and Pennacook tribes.
A moderately fast-growing tree, the Red Oak is also one of the more significant hardwood lumber species. It’s easily transplanted and will flourish happily in the shade of the woods as well as in a typical New Jersey back yard. In a forest setting, it grows tall and straight, but it adapts easily to a space with more light by growing a shorter trunk and a rounder canopy.
Room to Grow
If you’d like to teach your kids about their state tree, there’s no better way than collecting some of its acorns, keeping them cold through the winter, and planting them in the spring. Nothing instills knowledge and respect for a tree in the mind of a child better than a hands-on experience and the ability to watch it grow!
If you’ve got a beloved Red Oak tree in your Northern New Jersey yard that’s in need of pruning, trimming, or a health assessment, give the professionals at Trees Unlimited a call at 973-628-TREE.