fbpx Shumard's oak | The Morton Arboretum

Shumard's oak

Summer foliage of Shumard's oak.

Shumard's oak is native to southern Illinois, but is hardy in the northern part of the state as well. This species can be utilized as a street tree, but may be difficult to find in nurseries.

Botanical name:

Quercus shumardii

All common names:

Shumard's oak, swamp red oak

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Specimen,
  • Shade tree,
  • Parkway/street

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height:

40-60 feet

Mature Width:

40-60 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought,
  • Wet sites,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Road salt

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Intolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Tolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • May be difficult to find in nurseries,
  • Messy fruit/plant parts

Ornamental Interest:

  • Fall color

Seasons of Interest:

  • mid fall,
  • late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Pyramidal,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Game birds,
  • Game mammals,
  • Migrant birds,
  • Small mammals

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Tolerant of both wet and dry sites.
Prune oaks in the dormant season to avoid attracting beetles that may carry oak wilt.

Disease, pests, and problems

Oak wilt is a potential disease problem.
Insect pests include scale and two-lined chestnut borer.
Galls caused by mites or insects are common, but not harmful.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the southern tip of Illinois.  Found in both dry, uplanfd sites and bottomlands.

Bark color and texture 

Bark is gray and broken into broad plates and fissures at maturity.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves with deep sinuses and bristle-tipped lobes; 6 to 8 inches long.
Medium  green in summer, changing to red in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male flowers in dangling catkins; female flowers smaller and held close to the stem.  Not ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Acorns, 3/4 inch 1 1/4 inches long topped with a saucer-shaped cap. 



Location of Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak) at the Arboretum