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Redwood Vs Oak: Everything You Need To Know

Redwood and Oak not only own differences in their wood quality but are two separate plant species that grow to gigantic proportions!

In Redwood vs. Oak, Oak is tougher than the reddish-brown Redwood but less resistant to decay. As for individual plants, Redwoods are larger in size, produce cones, and have feathery, pinnately compound leaves. 

If you want to learn more about the differences and similarities between Redwoods and Oaks, follow the article to the end!

Redwood Vs Oak: Overview

Oaks and Redwoods are popular plant species for construction and furniture.

Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) are endangered species of non-flowering plants that fall in the plant family Cupressaceae and are native to the Western and Southern United States.

On the other hand, Oaks (Quercus species) are widely distributed species of flowering plants that hail from the plant family Fagaceae.

Image illustrates wood coloration of Redwoods and Oaks
Redwoods have reddish-brown wood, while Oaks have tan, brown or red wood.

Despite the differences, both Redwoods and Oaks bear a few resemblances in their size, wood usage, habits, climate range, and fire resistance.

  • Redwood and some species of Oaks are evergreen species that don’t shed their leaves during winter.
  • Oaks and Redwoods prefer temperate climates to grow and can persist in winter.
  • They both grow enormous and fall at the top of the world’s tallest and largest plant species list.
  • The wood of both Redwoods and Oaks is strong and durable, making them suitable for construction and furniture.
  • Their barks have a special type of textural composition and secret fire-resistant chemicals (tannins) that are slow to burn. 

Do You Know?

Although trees have woody interiors, some trees lack true internal wood. Learn about them!

Difference: Redwood Vs Oak

Redwood and Oak may have similarities, but you can easily differentiate between them from their appearance and stature.

Additionally, they also differ in the wood quality and density, leaves, and cones.  

1. Growth Size

Oaks can grow anywhere between 50-200 feet tall and about 60-100 feet wide. They live for 50-300 years on average.

However, Redwoods have the extraordinary ability to grow over 300 feet high and about 100 feet wide and live for 2000 years!

Image illustrates the leaves and fruits of Redwoods and Oaks
You can easily distinguish between Redwoods and Oaks from their leaves and fruits.

2. Leaves & Cones

The shape of the compound Redwood leaves is feathery and has linear, pinnately organized leaflets with pointy tips.

Additionally, the Redwoods produce oval cones that look like small versions of Pine cones, which are false fruits.  

The single leaves of Oaks are incised or lobed with blunt lobes. Further, Oaks produce acorns, which are true fruits. 

3. Wood Quality

Perhaps the best way to distinguish between Redwoods and Oaks is the wood quality.

ColorReddish-BrownTan, Brown, or Red
StrengthWeak to ModerateStrong
Rot ResistanceHighLow
CostLess ExpensiveMore Expensive
UsesExternal ApplicationsInternal & Structural Applications

From Editorial Team


Redwoods can grow gigantic but are extremely endangered due to their restricted native range.

Hence, the populations of these gentle giants are dwindling, with their conservation status in obscurity.