As January comes to a close, we welcome another new tree to the Kansas City landscape, ‘Infraray Red’ Scarlet Oak. This a is a tree to add to landscapes. Another Grimm’s Gardens arboretum selection, ‘Infraray Red’ will outlast the autumn blaze maples, and out-color any oak on the market.
What do most buyers want when they come looking for trees in the nursery? They want a fast-growing, tough as oak, red fall colored, tree to put in full sun on the west side of the house. The best option used to be Autumn Blaze maples, but no longer, because the Autumn Blaze does not fit the tough as an oak category. But what is tough as an oak, an oak. ‘Infraray Red’ is that oak and that tree to replace Autumn Blaze in the landscape.
For years, nurserymen shied away from working with scarlet oak because it did not graft well. However, new techniques and a desire to introduce these wonderful trees has encouraged modern nurserymen to try again. And it is working. ‘Infraray Red’ has a strong graft connection and is a great tree for the landscape. Why so great?
‘Infraray Red’ scarlet oak has the best red fall color of any oak and better than any maple that I have ever observed. It is a tough as nails tree, growing well on high pH soils with, heavy clay, or in well-drained soils. It is fast growing for an oak, between 1 and 2 feet per year, possibly more in milder years with less heat and drought. leaves are less messy than bur oak being similar in size to pin oak. But unlike pin oak, scarlet oak dies not suffer from iron deficiency on high pH soils.
We introduced ‘Infraray Red’ to the market 4 years ago and it is one of our best fall sellers. Unlike Autumn Blaze, the growth is slower and sturdier, and the leaves hold color much longer. ‘Infraray Red’ grows 60 to 80 feet tall and 30 to 50 feet wide over many years. It prefers full, open sun, and can handle strong Kansas winds and winter weather.