Soil respiration (SR) represents a major component of forest ecosystem respiration and is influenced seasonally by environmental factors such as temperature, soil moisture, root respiration, and litter fall. Changes in these environmental factors correspond with shifts in plant phenology. In this study, we examined the relationship between canopy phenophases (pre-growth, growth, pre-dormancy, and dormancy) and SR sensitivity to changes in soil temperature (TS). SR was measured 53 times over 550 days within an oak forest in northwest Ohio, USA. Annual estimates of SR were calculated with a Q10 model based on TS on a phenological (PT), or annual timescale (AT), or TS and soil volumetric water content (VWC) on a phenological (PTM) or annual (ATM) timescale. We found significant (p<0.01) difference in apparent Q10 from year 2004 (1.23) and year 2005 (2.76) during the growth phenophase. Accounting for moisture-sensitivity increased model performance compared to temperature-only models: the error was −17% for the ATM model and −6% for the PTM model. The annual models consistently underestimated SR in summer and overestimated it in winter. These biases were reduced by delineating SR by tree phenophases and accounting for variation in soil moisture. Even though the bias of annual models in winter SR was small in absolute scale, the relative error was about 91%, and may thus have significant implications for regional and continental C balance estimates.