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BY Dudley Phelps on Apr. 12, 2016

Red Oak Hybrids: The “Next Big Thing” for Wildlife

According to most wildlife biologists, red oaks need to be planted at a higher frequency than their cousins the white oaks.  So why not take it a step further and plant superior hybrid red oaks? Red hybrids occur naturally, but are difficult to find due to their rarity. Because they are crosses between two species of red oak, red aak hybrids often exhibit traits making them more desirable to wildlife- and the wildlifers who plant and maintain them. Here are a few reasons you need to include red oak hybrids on your tree planting list.

Red hybrids grow fast!   Seedlings topping out at seven to eight feet tall after their first growing season is not uncommon! Expect multiple feet of growth in the first year when planting young trees.

Acorns from red oak hybrids are often preferred by wildlife over regular red oaks.  To collect the acorns that eventually become seedlings in our nursery, we actually have to protect the fallen acorns from deer, hogs, squirrels and other critters until we have a chance to pick them up.  Animals seem to single out the hybrids, the exact reason is unknown, but what we do know is wildlife seem to prefer the red hybrids over other red oaks in the area.

Resistant to disease and insects makes this tree a no brainer for wildlife managers looking to improve habitat. Although red hybrids are not immune to problems such as acorn weevils and blights, they are usually infected much less and in lower frequencies. It’s almost as if insects and/or diseases don’t recognize the tree because it’s so uncommon.

Red hybrids can be more prolific and consistent producers from year to year, compared to regular red oaks. This is likely due to a combination of vigor, resistance to disease and insects, and ability to be pollinated by more than one other species of oaks.

So if you’re looking to add a set of unique trees that wildlife can’t resist to your piece of property, take a look at our collection of Red Oak Hybrid Oaks. Between the fast growth, the wildlife benefits and the outstanding fall colors, you won’t be disappointed!


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