Even if you don’t have the greenest of thumbs, the Shumard Oak is an easy tree to grow and care for. This common landscaping tree is known for turning a magnificent red color in the autumn. Animal lovers are also drawn to this tree as its acorns attract all sorts of critters like squirrels and deer.
However, you should be aware of some downsides to these oaks before diving in. Shumard Oak cons: invasive roots known to damage foundations and they drop leaves, acorns, and flowers. Shumard Oak pros: quick-growing, tolerant to drought and harsh soils, attracts wildlife, and are relatively safe near structures due to their wind resistance.
This oak tree is a great place to start if you want to try landscaping. We’ll look at all the Shumard Oak pros and cons so you’ll be well equipped with knowledge before you get going.
Pros of Shumard Oak Trees
This member of the red oak family is a popular choice for landscapers. Some of the most attractive features of this tree are:
- Drought tolerant
- Fast growth rate
- Attracts wildlife
- Sturdy and wind resistant
Let’s look at each of these pros in detail!
How Much Water Does a Shumard Oak Need?
Shumard Oaks are well-known for their resilience to drought. They require a minimum of six hours of sunlight a day, which means they thrive in hot, sunny areas. Typically you’ll only find Shumard Oaks in USDA hardiness zones 5-9 due to these sunlight requirements.
In their youth, Shumard Oaks require more water than mature trees. Young trees must be watered 2-3 times weekly to help establish their roots. Generally, they should get 1-2 gallons (3-7 L) of water for every 1 inch (2.5 cm) of trunk width.
Once mature, these oaks only need to be watered once a week. This tree is a favorite to line urban streets because of its tolerance to dry, sunny conditions. They can also live in many different soil types, from acidic to alkaline!
Shumard Oak Growth Rate
The Shumard Oak is considered a quick-growing tree, so it’s a great tree to plant if you want shade within a few years. Its growth rate is between 13-25 inches (33-63 cm) per year. At 20 years of age, Shumard Oaks are typically about 28-30 feet (8-9 m) tall. This oak species’ maximum height is around 40-60 feet (12-18 m) tall, with a canopy spread of 40-60 feet as well.
At about 25 years old, Shumard Oaks begin to produce acorns. It takes about two weeks for acorns to mature, then they drop in late autumn.
Shumard Oaks are so popular for family homes because they have such a long lifespan. Many trees live between 100-200 years so that generations can enjoy their beauty. Some Shumard Oaks have reached up to 480 years of age.
Which Oak Trees Hold Their Leaves the Longest?
Shumard Oaks are so cherished in late fall and early winter. Late in the cold weather, the Shumard Oak leaves transform from dark green to bright red. This provides a nice contrast to the stark and monochromatic winter landscape.
Certain species of oak, such as pin oak and sawtooth oak, often keep their dead leaves all winter. This phenomenon is called marcescence and is usually not desirable. Shumard Oak is a species that luckily does not experience marcescence, and its red leaves will eventually fall.
What is a Deer’s Favorite Oak Tree?
Wildlife lovers often plant flowers and trees that attract bees, squirrels, and deer so they can observe and enjoy their presence. Whitetail deer sightings are common around oak trees due to the acorn fruit they drop.
Shumard Oaks drop their acorns late in the season, so they are a great source of food for deer in the winter.
Do Oak Trees Fall Over Easily?
Have you ever heard of the phrase sturdy as an oak? It turns out this idiom has plenty of truth behind it!
Most oak species, including the Shumard Oak, are known for having sturdy thick trunks and a unique deep lateral root system. They are also tolerant to moderate flooding. They hold up well in wind storms and natural events like hurricanes.
The oak tree’s roots also tend to twist each other, creating a stronger foundation that keeps them firmly stuck in the ground. Live oaks are considered the sturdiest oak species, but Shumard Oak is not far behind.
Cons Of Shumard Oak Trees
As with any tree, flower, or shrub, it’s good to know the downsides before you plant it. The last thing you want is a destroyed foundation or a tree falling on your roof!
Some of the biggest cons of Shumard Oaks are:
- Invasive root system
- Potential to damage foundations
- Messy and require more yard maintenance
Shumard Oak Root System
Like most other oaks, the Shumard Oak has a relatively expansive and invasive lateral root system. Lateral roots are the most extensive type of root. What makes them so invasive is that they grow horizontally through the soil.
That means they can start interfering with other plants and structures (like patios and sidewalks) if planted too close. Since this all happens underground, you may not even realize the damage being done until it’s too late!
You should plant Shumard Oaks at least20 feet (6 m) away from any important structures. This is enough distance to keep their invasive roots from causing destruction.
Do Oak Trees Ruin Foundations?
The Shumard Oak’s shallow roots and quick growth rate make it a serious threat to your home’s foundation. But how exactly does an oak tree damage the foundation?
Roots draw moisture from the ground. When those roots reach your foundation, they will begin to absorb moisture from below the concrete slab. This can cause the foundation to buckle or lean and eventually collapse.
If a Shumard Oak is planted too close to your home, these issues will surface sooner or later. The solution is to remove the tree or install a root barrier, which can be costly.
Are Shumard Oaks Messy?
For some, yard work is a calming chore and a time to unwind. But for others, the less maintenance, the better! If you fall into this category, you might want to rethink planting a Shumard Oak.
Like all deciduous trees, the Shumard Oak drops its leaves in the fall. But at the same time, it also drops acorns. Acorns have to be swept rather than raked due to their small size, making them harder to get rid of. On top of this, acorns can cause dents and dings on your car if they fall from high enough!
If that wasn’t enough work, in the spring Shumard Oaks also drops tiny flowers called catkins. These flowers often stain sidewalks and leave pollen on car windshields.
What’s the Difference Between a Texas Red Oak and a Shumard Oak?
Texas Red Oak is in the same family of oaks as the Shumard Oak. These trees generally grow in the dry limestone ridges of central and west Texas. Shumard Oak and Texas Red Oak tend to grow in the same areas and often hybridize naturally because of this.
Although they are very similar, these oaks have two main differences. Shumard Oaks have larger acorns than the Texas Red Oak but a shallower acorn cup. The leaves of the Shumard Oak also have broader lobes.
Shumard Oaks’ cons include invasive roots known to damage foundations, and they will drop leaves, acorns, and flowers, while some of the pros of the Shumard Oak include being quick-growing, tolerant to drought and harsh soils, ability to attract wildlife, and are relatively safe near homes due to their wind resistance.
The Shumard Oak is an excellent choice if you want a tree that will last in your yard for generations to come. This sturdy oak species will withstand strong winds and even natural disasters like hurricanes.
What you have to worry about with Shumard Oaks are their roots. Their invasive roots can spell trouble for sidewalks and foundations if planted too close. If you’re not fond of yard work, remember that Shumard Oaks drop leaves and acorns in fall and catkins in spring. A huge benefit of these acorns dropping is that you get a front-row seat to any wildlife that comes by for a meal!