This deciduous tree is native to North America and can be found stretching from Maine to Georgia and west to Arkansas and Minnesota. It even stretches into Canada in Ontario and Quebec. It typically grows to about 90 feet though many can grow taller and it is believed to be able to live to be 500 years old. It is easily recognizable by its reddish-gray bark which has ridges with shiny stripes all the way down the center. The wood is a light to reddish brown with a reddish cast with a straight, uneven grain.

Red oak trees can survive in nearly any climate on the eastern seaboard from the coast to the Piedmont to the Plains. It produces a pale reddish-brown wood that when properly treated can be used for furniture and the interior of houses and its tone is also commonly replicated on fake-wood surfaces. Red oak also has uses as fence posts and railroad ties and the non-desirable wood also makes great firewood. It has an open cellular structure which makes it unsuitable for use near water or on housing exteriors as it stains when it comes in contact with water. You can actually blow into one end of the piece of wood and the air will come out of the other end.

The tree has typically been planted in parks due to its popularity as shade tree and the brilliant fall foliage it produces, but the red oak has been found to be very difficult to remove due to the taproot it develops. The acorns it produces are a favorite of squirrels, turkeys, mice, and many other forest mammals and birds.