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comparing Shumard, Nuttall, and Scarlet oaks in fall

Posted by hairmetal4ever Z7 MD (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 2, 13 at 13:50

It's summer, but let's talk fall color.

Scarlet Oak is probably considered the best of the red oak group in fall, but I've also heard suggestions that Shumard or Nuttall might be better.

Around here, there are very few Shumards or Nuttalls, but I've seen a couple. Scarlet Oaks seem to color pretty well, but last fall was a bit of a dud for some reason.

However, the form of the Scarlet Oak, to me, is less attractive than the other two.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: comparing Shumard, Nuttall, and Scarlet oaks in fall

The baby scarlet's I have had zero fall color last year but last year was a very poor year for nearly all trees/shrubs here due to our drought. The new transplants were especially affected even though I watered regularly.

My nuttall/shumard with an identity crisis had great fall color ranging from plum purple the first year to red and yellow the last two years. One of the best fall color trees in my yard. I purchased the plant late summer of 2010 when the leaves were green. I lucked into the nice fall color.

Here's another nuttall in my yard that really put on a show last fall. I believe the fall color was enhanced by a severe buckrubbing that disrupted the normal flow of sugars from the leaves down to the roots. The tree is dead now, not because of the buckrub, but because a gopher girdled the root collar and the tree literally fell down overnight and had no roots left... still this shows some of its potential

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RE: comparing Shumard, Nuttall, and Scarlet oaks in fall

Don't forget some other comparative discriminators.

Nuttall Oak doesn't retain dead leaves in winter, but Shumard does, from what I understand. Some people like it when they retain the leaves, some don't.

I like the big, broad leaves of Shumard, and planted it at the last place I lived. But for a location that may sometimes get really wet, I chose a Nuttall where we live now. And a Swamp White Oak.

I hear good things about Scarlet Oak, but from what I understand it's a good choice for drier sites? Seems Scarlet & Nuttall are kind of at opposite ends of the spectrum when siting for moisture levels.

Richard.


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RE: comparing Shumard, Nuttall, and Scarlet oaks in fall

Too bad about the gopher, what a pretty colored tree, John.


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RE: comparing Shumard, Nuttall, and Scarlet oaks in fall

Yeah, I think that genetics and regional factors have to be considered.

But around me - the native scarlet oaks are the best. Shumard and Nuttall oaks are "imported" and, of those two, I think Nuttall is the better looking.

But scarlet wins here.


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RE: comparing Shumard, Nuttall, and Scarlet oaks in fall

  • Posted by beng z6 western MD (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 3, 13 at 9:22

My Shumard (from OIKOS) colors as well as a Scarlet, but w/better form. But YMMV -- Scarlet may be more reliable among a random selection.


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RE: comparing Shumard, Nuttall, and Scarlet oaks in fall

Sounds like with many oaks, if fall color is something you're after, buying in fall is the best option.

Might also be an argument for buying a largish tree (2" caliper) since many times little oak seedlings color great, but fail to perform once they reach any sort of size.


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RE: comparing Shumard, Nuttall, and Scarlet oaks in fall

Is a Scarlet/Nuttall cross possible or in existence?

I'd imagine that would be a nice pairing.


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RE: comparing Shumard, Nuttall, and Scarlet oaks in fall

Nuttall Oak doesn't retain dead leaves in winter, but Shumard does, from what I understand.

I suspect that Shumard marcescence varies. Our Shumard holds onto most of its brown leaves until it starts to green up in the spring. There's one other in the neighborhood that performs this way, but others relinquish their leaves to the winter wind much sooner. Suppose it could be hybrid (?) or other genetic variation. Really like it now, but seemed "wrong" to me at first.

Our Shumard gives very nice and reliable yellow/red fall color, but never a blazing show stopper.


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RE: comparing Shumard, Nuttall, and Scarlet oaks in fall

Quick question - Nuttall oak, formerly called Q. nuttallii, is now known as Quercus texana, which used to be the latin for Texas Red Oak, Q. buckleyii, which also is sometimes classified as a variation of Shumard itself..

Is Nuttall considered a variation of Texas Red or Shumard itself, or is it thought to be distinct?

I would presume either way that hybrids should be possible.


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