Street Trees Urban landscape

Red Oak lives up to its name

In a post about the North American Red Oak (Quercus rubra) I wrote in the balmy days of August, I rather flippantly stated that ”… the beauty of this tree in its native New World is surely its fiery autumn colours which in our damper and milder oceanic climate is watered down from a rich red to a pedestrian caramel brown.”

Red Oak (Quercus rubra), More London
Confounded Tree: A Red Oak blatantly turning red

I have been perversely willing all the specimens of Red Oak in London (and I now realise there are a lot) to take on muddy shades in time for bonfire night so I could fill screenloads of blog pixels with an ironic firework-themed, told-you-so posting about the unsuitability of this tree to adorn our streets and public spaces.

Red Oaks (Quercus rubra), More London
Leaf It Out: More Red Oaks making spectacles of themselves with striking leaf colours

Well, there is nothing like humility, so I feel compelled to admit that I have been wrong about Quercus rubra. The Red Oak has come into its own in the past week as the trees I originally wrote about in the More London development are starting to, well, delight. Some trees are deep red, others brick red, more are yellow and orange. What this species lacks in character during the rest of the year, it is now making up for.

That said, I did bump into this rather splendid Acer palmatum or Japanese Maple in Highgate’s Waterlow Park last weekend…

Acer palmatum
Red Alert: Nothing beats the colour of the amazing Acer palmatum or Japanese Maple . This one is in Waterlow Park in north London

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