Skip to main content

Chisos Red Oak

The Chisos Red Oak (Quercus gravesii) is a New Mexico native tree. It is found growing in the Organ Mountains east of Las Cruces in south central New Mexico. It can produce annual growth of up to 3’per year ultimately reaching 30’ - 35′ tall and 25′ wide.

Its large canopy provides dark cooling shade.

It is often found growing on dry hillsides

and other poor soil situations

where it seems to thrive from the very start.

Leaf color is grayish green compared to the Texas Red Oak (Quercus buckleyi).

Leaves often feel thick, tough, and waxy or leathery to the touch.

Leaves turn a brilliant red-maroon,

sometimes yellow,

or orange,

or mixed colors in the fall.
Leaves eventually lose their color and turn a chocolate brown. Chocolate brown leaves often persist through winter into early spring. The spring winds finally persuade the chocolate colored leaves to loosen their grip and fall away from the tree.
The Chisos Red Oak produces acorns that ripen in fall.
In mature trees its bark is quite striking and provides winter interest.

The Chisos Red Oak grows well in valley soils where its tap root may eventually reach ground water. It also does very well in more exposed xeric locations like sandy mesa soils. Leaf structure (color, waxy layer, thickness) may be adaptations that allow it to grow well in xeric landscapes. Of course mulching around the tree and occasional deep watering helps immensely.

The Chisos Red Oak makes a great shade tree with fabulous fall foliage. It has deep roots and can be very long-lived. The Chisos Red Oak is best grown in well-drained soils with low to regular water. This oak is Hardy to USDA zone 5.

Contact Trees That Please Nursery for availability and pricing.

Narrative By:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

Photos by:
Stephen Sain and
Anna Forester
Store Manager


Anonymous said…
my chisos red oak is almost evergreen shading his leaves that turn a brilliant red color only in spring before new leaves emerge (zone 8,Modena North Italy)

Popular posts from this blog

Weed Identification: Goatheads or Stickers

Goatheads ( Tribulus terrestris ) are native to Southern Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Goatheads are also called stickers, sticker weed, bullhead, devil’s weed, and puncturevine. Goatheads are easily recognized by their prostrate growth form, leaves with leaflets, yellow flowers, and stickers (Goatheads). If you miss’em visually then they will stab you painfully in the fingers as you work your garden, or stick to your clothing and shoes. Goatheads are the primary reason local bicyclists must get “thorn proof” tires for riding on area trails and streets. Goatheads have prostrate stems that radiate outward from one central point. Leaves are compound with smaller leaflets. Lemon yellow flowers form along the stems and fertilized flowers form fruits.   Fruits consist of several attached structures called nutlets (Goatheads). Each nutlet is a single seed that becomes hard or woody when mature. Each seed has two sharp spines that easily penetrat

Weed Identification: Sand Bur

Sand Bur ( Cenchrus longispinus ) is native to North America. It has other names like sand spur, long-spined sand bur, hedgehog grass, and bur grass . Sand Bur is an annual grass usually growing with a prostrate growth form. It is similar in appearance to other grasses prior to seed formation. Individual plants may be 3’ in diameter, sometimes larger. Sand Bur is a common weed of sandy soils but also grows well elsewhere. Sand Bur will often root at stem nodes that are touching the ground. The root system of Sand Bur is shallow and fibrous making them easily pulled (when immature). Sand Bur produces a flowering spike. As seeds begin to form Sand Bur is easily recognized by its numerous sharp or burred seeds or long spines. As the burred seeds mature they are easily separated from the mother plant and their sharp spines stick to virtually anything. Sand Bur can disseminate its seeds long distances because its sharp spines will hitch a ride on skin, animal hides,

Weed Identification: Silver-Leaf Nightshade

Silver-Leaf Nightshade ( Solanum elaeagnifolium ) is a perennial plant usually growing 8” to 20” tall. It is easily recognized by its silver green wavy leaves and stem color,   often thorny stems, and violet colored, star shaped flowers with protruding yellow stamens. Other common names for Silver-Leaf Nightshade are Prairie Berry, Silver-Leaf Nettle, and Satan’s Bush. Silver-Leaf Nightshade flowers from late spring into fall and is native to the Southwestern United States and into Mexico. It is considered a noxious weed in many states. Silver-Leaf Nightshade is poisonous and toxic to livestock. Silver-Leaf Nightshade propagates from both rhizomes and seed found in berries. Green striped berries turn yellow or orange at maturity and then dry to brown.   Silver-Leaf Nightshade has an extensive root system     and can form colonies, which makes it difficult to eradicate.   If you have time and patience, Silver-Leaf Nightshade can be e