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collage of Northern Red Oak and Pin Oak

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) vs. Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Updated July 30th, 2020

These trees are sometimes confused, mainly because they are both common in landscaping and both have pointy-lobed leaves, but they are easily distinguished by leaves, acorns, and growth habit. In the wild, pin oak is found on wetter, sunnier sites and northern red oak on drier, more shaded sites, with relatively little overlap in habitat.

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