Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chisos Red Oak – A New Mexico Native Shade Tree!

Chisos Red Oak (Quercus gravesii) is a New Mexico Native Oak that can be fast growing with annual growth of up to 4’ per year ultimately reaching 35' tall and 25' wide (see photo).

Like all oaks it has deep roots so can be planted closer to structures than surface-rooted trees like cottonwoods and mulberries. The Chisos Red Oak can be very long-lived, so plant it wisely so generations can enjoy its shade and beauty. In the wild, it is often found on drier hillsides growing in limestone soils (see photo).  

It produces brilliant red-maroon fall color that then fades to a chocolate brown color (see photo).

Chocolate colored leaves hang on tree through winter, finally falling with the spring winds or when new growth begins. Chisos Red Oak does best in well-drained soils but also tolerates clay soils with low to regular water. This combination of growth characteristics make the Chisos Red Oak ideally suited as a shade and specimen tree. It is hardy to USDA Zone 4. Our container grown Chisos Red Oaks survived the -20 degree February 2011 freeze with no damage.

Written by:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

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