The Shumard Oak is a shady, magnificent pyramidal red oak tree that can live for almost 500 years! Planting this tree will bring joy to generations. Native to Kansas, this sturdy tree is impressively adaptable in urban landscapes, tolerant of air pollution, and compacted soil. It boasts beautiful seven inch rich green leaves that turn red and then red-orange in the fall before they drop. Rabbit and deer love the Shumard Oak for its yield of acorns. It is a popular tree for urban landscapes for the shade it provides.
Where you plant your tree is very important due to how widespread the root system will reach. Afterall, it has 500 years to stretch out! Choose a location for your tree to grow that is at least 15 feet away from a swimming pool, septic tank, or building foundation, and at least eight feet away from a driveway, sidewalk, fence, or air conditioner. Consider overhead utility lines that may be present to clearance them by 30 feet. Clear the ground for weeds, as this will help your Shumard Oak grow. Dig a hole two times wider than the root ball and of the same depth. Place the sapling
in the hole and cover with soil. Pack the soil firmly in place with your foot, then water generously. To regulate soil temperature, apply mulch around the tree, no closer than two feet to the trunk.
The Shumard Oak thrives in USDA zones 5 – 9 and requires at least six hours of full and direct sunlight for healthy growth. Water twice weekly for the first two months in the ground, then reduce to once a week. Once the tree is established, it is generally drought resistant and only needs to be watered during prolonged periods of heat or lack of rainfall. Give your new tree a fertilization boost of one tablespoon of 10-10-10 slow-release fertilizer per square foot of soil. Mix the fertilizer into the first three inches of soil and water to activate.
The Shumard Oak Tree grows moderately fast and is the fastest-growing red oak. The Shumard Oak will grow at an astonishing rate of 13 to 24 inches per year. At full maturity, the Shumard Oak will reach towering heights of 60 to 80 feet with a canopy spread of 50 feet, making it well suited for providing shade. You must prune your Shumard Oak regularly when it is a young tree, so that it can develop a good branch structure. Once the Shumard Oak starts to grow, you may prune it once a year. Once you select a branch to be removed, trace it back to the trunk and cut it at a quarter of an inch above where the branch connects with the trunk. Do not prune the Shumard Oak during the late spring or summer, as insects that spread the deadly oak wilt disease are most active during this time. If your tree faces this disease, take care of it immediately.
The stately, shady Shumard Oak Tree is easy to care for once established because it is relatively drought-resistant and can survive without watering, though it may lose leaves in extended periods of heat. As a tolerant tree, it is a favorite of urban landscapes. Take notice of the Shumard Oak Trees lined 25 feet apart on wide roadway medians, as they create excellent windbreaks and visual spectacles, especially with their changing leaves in the fall. Animal lover?
The acorns of the Shumard Oak make excellent food for wildlife. This is the tree that keeps on giving for a quincentenary!