This oak is one of the most important and widespread of the northern oaks, and is the state tree of New Jersey. Its wood is heavy, hard, and strong, making it ideal for furniture, flooring, fuel and veneer. Its large acorns are rich in fats, but also high in tannins that make them bitterer than those of white oak.
Unlike white oak acorns, which germinate soon after dropping in the fall, red oak fruits do not begin growing until the following spring. Many are eaten by deer, turkeys, squirrels, bears and chipmunks, or are destroyed by insects before having a chance to germinate.