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Overview

Brief Summary

Fagaceae -- Beech family

    Ivan L. Sander

    Black oak (Quercus velutina) is a common, medium-sized to  large oak of the eastern and midwestern United States. It is  sometimes called yellow oak, quercitron, yellowbark oak, or  smoothbark oak. It grows best on moist, rich, well-drained soils,  but it is often found on poor, dry sandy or heavy glacial clay  hillsides where it seldom lives more than 200 years. Good crops  of acorns provide wildlife with food. The wood, commercially  valuable for furniture and flooring, is sold as red oak. Black  oak is seldom used for landscaping.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Ivan L. Sander

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Comprehensive Description

Description

This tree is typically 60-80' tall at maturity, consisting of a single trunk about 1½-3' across and a pyramidal or ovoid crown with ascending to widely spreading branches. The crown is somewhat open and irregular and the branches are often crooked. Trunk bark is blackish gray or brownish gray; it is shallowly to moderately furrowed, rough-textured, and often dividing into irregular rectangular plates. Branch bark is more gray and smooth, while the rather stout twigs are gray to brown with white lenticels. The terminal buds of twigs are pubescent and either tan or gray. Alternate leaves occur along the twigs. Individual leaves are 3-9" long and 2½-6" across; they are ovate to obovate in outline and pinnatifid, dividing into 5-7 (less often 9) major lobes and some smaller secondary lobes. The lobes are pointed and they have short bristles at their tips; the sinuses between the lobes are concave. Leaves exposed to sunlight tend to have deeper lobes than those growing in the shade. The upper leaf surface is dark green, hairless, and glossy, while the lower surface is pale to medium green and dull. In the typical variety of Black Oak, the lower surface of mature leaves is hairless, except for patches of tan or reddish brown downy hairs near the forks of the major veins. In a more southern variety (var. missouriensis) of Black Oak, mature leaves have a scurfy canescence across the entire lower surface. The petioles are 1-3" long, light green to yellow, and glabrous or canescent; they often bend from the weight of the leaves. Black Oak is monoecious, producing male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers on the same tree. The inflorescence of male flowers consists of a cluster of drooping yellowish catkins about 4-6" long. The central stalks of the catkins are pubescent. The female inflorescence consists of a short spike of 1-4 reddish female flowers. Each female flower consists of an ovoid ovary with a conspicuous tripartite style; the ovary is surrounded by floral bracts (phyllaries) that are scaly and pubescent. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring. The flowers are wind-pollinated. The catkins of male flowers soon wither away, while fertile female flowers are replaced by acorns. These acorns require 2 years to fully develop; at maturity, they are ½-¾" long and ovoid-globoid in shape. Each acorn has a cup at its apex that extends downward to about 1/2 of its length; the relatively loose scales of the cup become smaller as they approach its lower rim. Along the lower rim of the cup, the scales form a short fringe. Each acorn contains a single large seed. The woody root system produces a deep taproot and lateral roots. This tree reproduces by reseeding itself. The deciduous leaves become dull red, yellow, or brown during the fall.
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The typical variety of the native Black Oak is a common tree that is found in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). The other variety of Black Oak (var. missouriensis), is restricted to a few southern counties within the state, where it is uncommon. Habitats include upland woodlands, rocky open woodlands, sandy woodlands, upland savannas and sandy savannas, stabilized sand dunes, thinly wooded bluffs and rocky ridges, sandstone and limestone glades, and woodland borders. Sometimes Black Oak is the dominant canopy tree in sandy woodlands, sandy savannas, and upland rocky areas. It is rarely cultivated as a landscape tree.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Occurrence in North America

     AL  AR  CT  DE  FL  GA  IL  IN  IA  KS
     KY  LA  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  NE
     NH  NJ  NY  NC  OH  OK  PA  RI  SC  TN
     TX  VT  VA  WV  WI  ON

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Black oak is widely distributed throughout the eastern and central
United States and extreme southwestern Ontario, Canada.  In the United
States, black oak occurs from southwestern Maine west to southern
Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota; south through Iowa to eastern
Nebraska, eastern Kansas, central Oklahoma, and eastern Texas; and east
to northwestern Florida and Georgia [56].
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

   14  Great Plains

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Black oak is widely distributed from southwestern Maine west in  New York to extreme southern Ontario, southeastern Minnesota, and  Iowa; south in eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, central  Oklahoma, and eastern Texas; and east to northwestern Florida and  Georgia (18,19).

   
  -The native range of black oaks.


  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Ivan L. Sander

Source: Silvics of North America

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Ont.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.
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Throughout the Midwest US. (Hultman, 1978) Very common throughout the Midwest USA. (Weeks et al, 2005)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: tree

Black oak is a medium- to large-sized, native, deciduous tree with an
irregularly rounded crown [56].  In a forest, the trunk is usually
branch-free for half the height of the tree [28].  Individuals may live
150 to 200 years.  On good sites, black oak may reach 150 feet (46 m) in
height and 48 inches (122 cm) in d.b.h., but most trees are 60 to 80
feet (18-24 m) tall and 24 to 36 inches (61-91 cm) in d.b.h. [56].
Black oak has a deep taproot and deep and widespreading lateral roots
[28].
  • 28. Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p. [3375]
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]

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Description

Trees , deciduous, to 25 m. Bark dark brown to black, deeply furrowed, ridges often broken into irregular blocks, inner bark yellow or orange. Twigs dark reddish brown, (1.5-)2.5-4.5(-5) mm diam., glabrous or sparsely pubescent. Terminal buds ovoid or ellipsoid to subconic, 6-12 mm, noticeably 5-angled in cross section, tawny- or gray-pubescent. Leaves: petiole 25-70 mm, glabrous to sparsely pubescent. Leaf blade ovate to obovate, (80-)100-300 × 80-150 mm, base obtuse to truncate, inequilateral, margins with 5-9 lobes and 15-50 awns, lobes oblong or distally expanded, separated by deep sinuses, apex acute to obtuse; surfaces abaxially pale green, glabrous except for small axillary tufts of tomentum or with scattered pubescence, especially along veins, adaxially glossy, dark green, glabrous, secondary veins raised on both surfaces. Acorns biennial; cup cup-shaped or turbinate, 7-14 mm high × 12-22 mm wide, covering 1/2 nut, cup margins not involute, outer surface puberulent, inner surface pubescent, scale tips loose, especially at margin of cup, acute to acuminate; nut subglobose to ovoid, 10-20 × 10-18 mm, glabrate, scar diam. 5.5-12 mm. n = 12 ± 1; 2 n = 24.
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Overall The tree has alternate branching. Forest-grown trees have tall, clear trunks with thick limbs creating an irregular, rounded crown. On poor sites the tree often has a limby trunk. (Weeks et al, 2005)

Flowers Flowers are yellow. (USDA PLANTS, 2009) The male catkins are single or often several together. They descend from a scaly bud, drooping and slender, with caducous (early dropping) bracts. Each possesses a 2-8-parted calyx, and 3-12 stamens. Female flowers are scattered or somewhat clustered. Each contains a 3-celled ovary and 3-lobed stigma and is enclosed in a bud-like scaly involucre (a collection or rosette of bracts)which develops later as the cup of the fruit which is an acorn. (Peattie, 1930) Male flowers are conspicuous and hang downward in clusters. Female flowers are inconspicuous and are tiny spikes in the axils of the new leaves. (Weeks et al, 2005)

Fruit is a light reddish brown acorn, housed in a scaly, bowl-shaped cup. (Hultman, 1978) The scales of the cup are loosely overlapping. Th cup is hemispheric, short-stalked, and pubescent (hairy), about half as high as the ovoid acorn. (Peattie, 1930) The acorns are often striped, with a shaggy cap and are lightly hairy overall. The nut is enclosed by a shaggy-scaled, top-shaped cap. The meat is yellow and bitter. (Weeks et al, 2005) Fruit are abundant. (USDA PLANTS, 2009)

Leaves are variable, tough, and leathery. They possess 5-7 bristle-tipped lobes. (Hultman, 1978) Leaf margins are lobed with the veins extending beyond them as bristle tips. Leaves can be pinnatifid (clefts reaching halfway or more to the midrib) or lobed (cleftsextending less than halfway to the midrib). There are roughly 8 principal and narrow sinuses. When young leaves are firm, brown, and pubescent. With age leaves become dark green, dull, and smooth above, and paler beneath, with pubescent veins. (Peattie, 1930) Leaves are dark green and shiny, with 5-7 bristle-tipped lobes. The sinuses may be deep or shallow. Leaves are hairy underneath. Lower canopy shade leaves may be nearly unlobed, with especially hairy undersides. Leaves on the same tree can be very different shapes, confusing identification, but typically the sinuses on the leaves deepen going up the tree. (Weeks et al, 2005)

Buds are clustered terminally. They are pointed and angles in cross section. The numerous, overlapping scales are covered with dense tan-gray hairs. (Weeks et al, 2005)

Twigs are reddish brown and smooth by maturity. (Weeks et al, 2005)

Bark is dark in color and bright orange or yellow underneath. (Hultman, 1978)The tree bears dark brown or black furrowed outer bark and orange inner bark. (Peattie, 1930) The bark is dark, nearly black, with thick, blocky, vertical ridges on the lower trunk. Bark may have "ski-tracks", but only in the upper half of the tree. (Weeks et al, 2005)

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Size

Tree is 50-60' tall. (Hultman, 1978) The tree can attain heights of 100' on good sites. (Weeks et al, 2005) At 20 years the tree attains a maximum of 25', attaining 90' at maturity. (USDA PLANTS, 2009)

Fruit the acorns are 3/4" long. (Weeks et al, 2005)

Leaves are 5-7" long. (Hultman, 1978)

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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Quercus tinctoria W. Bartram
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Look Alikes

Quercus coccinae the Scarlet Oak, Quercus ellipsoidalis the Northern Pin Oak, Quercus marilandica the Blackjack Oak, Quercus pagoda the Cherrybark Oak, Quercus rubra the Northern Red Oak, Quercus shumardi the Shumard Oak. (Weeks et al, 2005)
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The typical variety of the native Black Oak is a common tree that is found in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). The other variety of Black Oak (var. missouriensis), is restricted to a few southern counties within the state, where it is uncommon. Habitats include upland woodlands, rocky open woodlands, sandy woodlands, upland savannas and sandy savannas, stabilized sand dunes, thinly wooded bluffs and rocky ridges, sandstone and limestone glades, and woodland borders. Sometimes Black Oak is the dominant canopy tree in sandy woodlands, sandy savannas, and upland rocky areas. It is rarely cultivated as a landscape tree.
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Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: competition, serpentine soils, shrub, tree

Black oak, an upland xerophytic species, can occur on all aspects and
slope positions, but tends to be more abundant on the drier southerly
and westerly aspects and on upper slopes and ridges [16,56].  Black oak
does not appear to be site-sensitive.  Its occurrence is more due to
fortuitous circumstance than inherent habitat requirements [16].
Although it grows best on moist, rich, well-drained sites, it is
sensitive to competition on these sites and is more often found on dry,
nutrient-poor, coarse-textured soils [56].  Black oak does not occur on
the serpentine soils of the Maryland Piedmont [68].  It often grows on
sandy or gravelly sites or heavy glacial clay hillsides.  Black oak is
found up to 4,000 feet (1,200 m) in the southern Appalachian Mountains
[56].

Black oak is less drought tolerant than post oak (Q. stellata), but more
tolerant than northern red oak and about as tolerant as white oak [57].
Its predominance on southerly and westerly aspects may be due in part to
drought tolerance.  In addition, the increased solar radiation on these
sites may facilitate early establishment and eventual dominance of black
oak [49].
 
Overstory associates of black oak not mentioned in Distribution and
Occurrence include pignut hickory (Carya glabra), mockernut hickory (C.
tomentosa), bitternut hickory (C. cordiformis), shagbark hickory (C.
ovata), American elm (Ulmus americana), slippery elm (U. rubra), white
ash (Fraxinus americana), black walnut (Juglans nigra), butternut (J.
cinerea), southern red oak, scarlet oak, chinquapin oak (Q.
muehlenbergii), red maple (Acer rubrum), black cherry, and blackgum
(Nyssa sylvatica) [56].

Common small tree associates include sassafras, flowering dogwood
(Cornus florida), sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum), eastern hophornbeam
(Ostrya virginiana), redbud (Cercis canadensis), pawpaw (Asimina
triloba), downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), and American
bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia) [56].

Common shrub associates include blueberry (Vaccinium spp.),
mountain-laurel (Kalmia latifolia), witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana),
beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), sumac (Rhus
spp.), and Viburnum spp. [56].

Herbaceous plants associated with black oak in sand savannas include
little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Pennsylvania sedge (Carex
pensylvanica), and Coreopsis spp. [8].
  • 16. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
  • 8. Alexander, Robert R.; Edminster, Carleton B. 1980. Management of ponderosa pine in even-aged stands in the Southwest. Res. Pap. RM-225. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 11 p. [15585]
  • 49. Nowacki, Gregory J.; Abrams, Marc D. 1992. Community, edaphic, and historical analysis of mixed oak forests of the Ridge and Valley Province in central Pennsylvania. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 22: 790-800. [19216]
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]
  • 57. Messier, Francois; Virgl, John A. 1992. Differential use of bank burrows and lodges by muskrats, Ondatra zibethicus, in a northern marsh environment. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 70(6): 1180-1184. [18437]
  • 68. Hull, James C.; Wood, Sarah G. 1984. Water relations of oak species on and adjacent to a Maryland serpentine soil. The American Midland Naturalist. 112(2): 224-234. [19034]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the term: natural

Black oak is a common component of many eastern and central upland
deciduous forests.  Black oak also occurs in savannas in the transition
zone between the eastern deciduous forests and the western prairies.

The following published classifications list black oak as a dominant or
codominant species:

Deciduous forest [23]
Classification of forest ecosystems in Michigan [53]
The natural communities of South Carolina [46]
A classification of the deciduous forest of eastern North America [45]
Forest vegetation of the lower Alabama Piedmont [19]
Old-growth forests within the Piedmont of South Carolina [30]
Plant communities of the Coastal Plains of North Carolina and their
   successional relations [66]
Ecological species groups of oak ecosystems of southeastern Michigan [6]
Presettlement vegetation of Lake County, Indiana [7]
  • 6. Archambault, Louis; Barnes, Burton V.; Witter, John A. 1989. Ecological species groups of oak ecosystems of southeastern Michigan. Forest Science. 35(4): 1058-1074. [9768]
  • 7. Bacone, John A.; Campbell, Ronald K. 1983. Presettlement vegetation of Lake County, Indiana. In: Kucera, Clair L., ed. Proceedings of the 7th North American prairie conference; 1980 August 4-6; Springfield, MO. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri: 27-37. [3192]
  • 19. Golden, Michael S. 1979. Forest vegetation of the lower Alabama Piedmont. Ecology. 60(4): 770-782. [9643]
  • 23. Greller, Andrew M. 1988. Deciduous forest. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 288-316. [19544]
  • 30. Jones, Steven M. 1988. Old-growth forests within the Piedmont of South Carolina. Natural Areas Journal. 8(1): 31-37. [11008]
  • 45. Monk, Carl D.; Imm, Donald W.; Potter, Robert L.; Parker, Geoffrey G. 1989. A classification of the deciduous forest of eastern North America. Vegetatio. 80: 167-181. [9297]
  • 46. Nelson, John B. 1986. The natural communities of South Carolina. Columbia, SC: South Carolina Wildlife & Marine Resources Department. 54 p. [15578]
  • 53. Pregitzer, Kurt S.; Ramm, Carl W. 1984. Classification of forest ecosystems in Michigan. In: Bockheim, James G., ed. Forest land classification: experiences, problems, perspectives: Proceedings of a symposium; 1984 March 18-20; Madison, WI. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, Department of Soil Science: 114-131. [12779]
  • 66. Wells, B. W. 1928. Plant communities of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina and their successional relations. Ecology. 9(2): 230-242. [9307]

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

    14  Northern pin oak
    40  Post oak - blackjack oak
    42  Bur oak
    43  Bear oak
    44  Chestnut oak
    45  Pitch pine
    46  Eastern redcedar
    51  White pine - chestnut oak
    52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak
    53  White oak
    55  Northern red oak
    57  Yellow-poplar
    58  Yellow-poplar - eastern hemlock
    59  Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak
    60  Beech - sugar maple
    75  Shortleaf pine
    76  Shortleaf pine - oak
    78  Virginia pine - oak
    79  Virginia pine
    80  Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
    82  Loblolly pine - hardwood
   110  Black oak

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES39  Prairie

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

   K081  Oak savanna
   K082  Mosaic of K074 and K100
   K083  Cedar glades
   K095  Great Lakes pine forest
   K100  Oak - hickory forest
   K102  Beech - maple forest
   K104  Appalachian oak forest
   K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest
   K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest
   K112  Southern mixed forest

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Soils and Topography

In southern New England, black oak grows on cool, moist Orthod  Spodosols. Elsewhere it occurs on warm, moist soils including  Udalf Alfisols, Udoll Mollisols, Udult Ultisols, small areas of  Udipsamment Entisols, Dystrochrept Inceptisols, and in extreme  northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania on Fragiochrept  Inceptisols.

    The most widespread soils on which black oak grows are the Udalfs  and Udolls (30). These soils are derived from glacial materials,  sandstones, shales, and limestone and range from heavy clays to  loamy sands with some having a high content of rock or chert  fragments. Black oak grows best on welldrained, silty clay to  loam soils.

    Black oak grows on all aspects and slope positions. It grows best  in coves and on middle and lower slopes with northerly and  easterly aspects. It is found at elevations up to 1200 m (4,000  ft) in the southern Appalachians (6).

    The most important factors determining site quality for black oak  are the thickness and texture of the A horizon, texture of the B  horizon, aspect, and slope position (2,4,13,20). Other factors  may be important in localized areas. For example, in northwestern  West Virginia increasing precipitation to 1120 mm (44 in)  resulted in increased site quality; more than 1120 mm (44 in) had  no further effect (2). In southern Indiana, decreasing site  quality was associated with increasing slope steepness (13).

    Near the limits of black oak's range, topographic factors may  restrict its distribution. At the western limits black oak is  often found only on north and east aspects where moisture  conditions are most favorable. In southern Minnesota and  Wisconsin it is usually found only on ridgetops and the lower  two-thirds of south- and west-facing slopes (6).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Climate

In the area over which black oak grows, mean annual temperature  ranges from about 7° C (45° F) in the north to 20°  C (68° F) in east Texas and north-central Florida. Annual  precipitation is less than 760 mm (30 in) per year on the  northwestern fringe of black oak's range and 2030 mm (80 in) in  the southern Appalachians. The frost-free season averages 140  days in southern Wisconsin and 260 days in southeast Texas (6).

    Black oak grows best in the Central States where the climate is  moderate, with an average annual temperature of 13° C (55°  F), precipitation of 1020 to 1270 mm (40 to 50 in), and a  frost-free season of about 180 days (6).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Commonly on dry slopes and upland areas, occasionally on sandy lowlands (especially in north) and poorly drained uplands and terraces; 0-1500m.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Dry, rocky ridges. (Hultman, 1978) Usually it is a dry-site tree. (Weeks et al, 2005) Typically found on dry ridges and upper slopes. With site disturbance it may occur on moist, well-drained soils, where it attains its greatest size. It is intermediate in shade tolerance. (Weeks et al, 2005)
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© Beck, Nicholas

Source: Indiana Dunes Bioblitz

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Associations

Faunal Associations

Like other Quercus spp. (oaks), Black Oak is beneficial to many kinds of wildlife. The foliage is eaten by the caterpillars of several butterflies
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
plant of Loranthus europaeus parasitises live trunk of Quercus velutina

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Associated Forest Cover

Black Oak (Society of American Foresters Type 110) is the forest  cover type that designates pure stands of the species or those in  which it makes up more than 50 percent of the stand basal area.  Black oak is a major associate in White Oak-Black Oak-Northern  Red Oak (Type 52), and a component in the following forest cover  types (8):

    Northern Forest Region
  14 Northern Pin Oak
  51 White Pine-Chestnut Oak
  60 Beech-Sugar Maple

    Central Forest Region
  40 Post Oak-Blackjack Oak
  42 Bur Oak
  43 Bear Oak
  44 Chestnut Oak
  45 Pitch Pine
  46 Eastern Redcedar
  53 White Oak
  55 Northern Red Oak
  57 Yellow-Poplar
  58 Yellow-Poplar-Eastern Hemlock
  59 Yellow-Poplar-White Oak-Northern Red Oak

    Southern Forest Region
  75 Shortleaf Pine
  76 Shortleaf Pine-Oak
  78 Virginia Pine-Oak
  79 Virginia Pine
  80 Loblolly Pine-Shortleaf Pine
  82 Loblolly Pine-Hardwood

    Other tree associates of black oak include pignut hickory (Carya  glabra), mockernut hickory (C. tomentosa), bitternut  hickory (C. cordiformis), and shagbark hickory  (C. ovata); American elm (Ulmus americanaand slippery elm (U. rubra); white ash (Fraxinus  americana); black walnut (Juglans nigra) and  butternut (J. cinerea); scarlet oak (Quercus  coccinea), southern red oak (Q. falcata), and  chinkapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii); red maple (Acer  rubrum) and sugar maple (A. saccharum); black cherry  (Prunus serotina); and blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica(5).

    Common small tree associates of black oak include flowering  dogwood (Cornus florida), sourwood (Oxydendrum  arboreum), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), eastern  hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), redbud (Cercis  canadensis), pawpaw (Asimina triloba), downy  serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), and American  bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia). Common shrubs include  Vaccinium spp., mountain-laurel (Kalmia latifolia),  witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), beaked hazel (Corylus  cornuta), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), sumac (Rhus  spp.), and Viburnum spp. The most common vines are  greenbrier (Smilax spp.), grape (Vitis spp.),  poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), and Virginia creeper  (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) (5).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Ivan L. Sander

Source: Silvics of North America

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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

Wildfires seriously damage black oak  trees by killing the cambial tissue at the base of the trees.  This creates an entry point for decay fungi, and the end result  is loss of volume because of heart rot. Trees up to pole size are  easily killed by fire and severe fires may even kill sawtimber.  Many of the killed trees sprout and form a new stand (6).  However, the economic loss may be large unless at least some of   it can be salvaged.

    Oak wilt (Ceratocystis fagacearum) is a potentially  serious vascular disease of black oak that is widespread  throughout the eastern United States. Trees die within a few  weeks after the symptoms first appear. Usually scattered  individuals or small groups of trees are killed, but areas  several hectares (acres) in size may be affected. The disease is  spread from tree to tree through root grafts and over larger  distances by sap-feeding beetles (Nitidulidae) and the  small oak bark beetle (6).

    Shoestring root rot (Armillaria mellea) attacks black oak  and may kill trees weakened by fire, lightning, drought, insects,  or other diseases. A root rot, Phytophthora cinnamomi, may  kill seedlings in the nursery. Cankers caused by Strumella  and Nectria species damage the holes of black oak but  seldom kill trees. Foliage diseases that attack black oak are the  same as those that typically attack species in the red oak group  and include anthracnose (Gnomonia quercina), leaf blister  (Taphrina spp.), powdery mildews (Phyllactinia  corylea and Microsphaera alni), oak-pine rusts (Cronartium  spp.), and leaf spots (Actinopelte dryina) (13).

    Tunneling insects that attack the boles of black oak and cause  serious lumber degrade include the carpenterworm (Prionoxystus  robiniae), red oak borer (Enaphalodes rufulus), the  twolined chestnut borer (Agrilus bilineatus), the oak  timberworm (Arrhenodes minutus), and the Columbian timber  beetle (Corthylus columbianus) (3).

    The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) feeds on foliage and is  potentially the most destructive insect. Although black oaks  withstood a single defoliation, two or three defoliations in  successive years killed many trees in New Jersey (17). Other  defoliators that attack black oak and may occasionally be  epidemic are the variable oakleaf caterpillar (Heterocampa  manteo), the orangestriped oakworm (Anisota senatoria),  and the browntail moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea).

    The nut weevils (Curculio spp.), gall-forming cynipids  (Callirhytis spp.), filbertworm (Melissopus  latiferreanus), and acorn moth (Valentinia glandulel1a)  damage black oak acorns.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Ivan L. Sander

Source: Silvics of North America

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the term: tree

Prescribed fire is used to control oak invasion of prairies [4].
Because of prolific sprouting of hardwoods, including black oak,
prescribed burning is not recommended for controlling hardwood
competition during shortleaf pine regeneration on the Cumberland Plateau
in Kentucky [67].

Equations for the estimation of fire-caused mortality have been
developed for black oak.  In order to predict mortality, a manager needs
to know the tree d.b.h., the height of bark blackening, the width of
bark blackening 1 foot above the ground, and the season of fire.  The
equation should only be applied to trees between 3 and 16 inches
(7.6-40.6 cm) in d.b.h. [39]].  Equations have also been developed to
predict lumber value losses due to fire wounding of black oak [38].
An equation has been developed to predict the size of a fire wound
on a black oak from the area of the exterior discolored bark and the
diameter of the damaged tree [47].
  • 4. Adams, Dwight E.; Anderson, Roger C.; Collins, Scott L. 1982. Differential response of woody and herbaceous species to summer and winter burning in an Oklahoma grassland. The Southwestern Naturalist. 27: 55-61. [6282]
  • 38. Loomis, Robert M. 1974. Predicting the losses in sawtimber volume and quality from fires in oak-hickory forests. NC-104. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 6 p. [8712]
  • 39. Loomis, Robert M. 1973. Estimating fire-caused mortality and injury in oak-hickory forests. Res. Pap. NC-94. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 6 p. [8740]
  • 47. Nelson, Ralph M.; Sims, Ivan H.; Abell, Margaret S. 1933. Basal fire wounds on some southern Appalachian hardwoods. Journal of Forestry. 31: 829-837. [160]
  • 67. Williamson, Malcolm J. 1964. Burning does not control young hardwoods on shortleaf pine sites in the Cumberland Plateau. Res. Note CS-19. Columbus, OH: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Central States Forest Experiment Station. 4 p. [10999]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: fire use, prescribed fire

The following Research Project Summaries provide information on prescribed fire use and postfire response of plant community species, including black oak, that was not available when this species review was originally written:

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: density, litter, low-severity fire, shrub

Black oak individuals, including seedlings, sprout from the root crown
when top-killed.

The density of black oak stems generally increases after fire because of
sprouting.  Two growing seasons after two annual fires in an oak-pine
stand in the Cumberland Plateau in Kentucky, black oak and scarlet oak
stems increased from a prefire density of approximately 1,250 stems per
acre (3,090 stems/ha) to a postfire density of approximately 1,750 stems
per acre (4,320 stems/ha) [67].  Sprouting of top-killed black oak in
prescribed fires in the Indiana Dune National Lakeshore also increased
the shrub coverage of black oak [12].

More frequent fire may eventually reduce black oak sprouting, however,
because root systems are weakened.  Five fires in 8 years (three in the
spring and two in the fall) reduced black oak sprouting in a black oak
sand savanna in Indiana [8].

Black oak acorns in the litter may survive a low-severity fire [62], but
no conclusive evidence of this was found in the literature.
  • 8. Alexander, Robert R.; Edminster, Carleton B. 1980. Management of ponderosa pine in even-aged stands in the Southwest. Res. Pap. RM-225. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 11 p. [15585]
  • 12. Cole, Kenneth L.; Benjamin, Pamela K.; Klick, Kenneth F. 1990. The effects of prescribed burning on oak woods and prairies in the Indiana Dunes. Restoration & Management Notes. 8(1): 37-38. [13552]
  • 62. Swan, Frederick R., Jr. 1970. Post-fire response of four plant communities in south-central New York state. Ecology. 51(6): 1074-1082. [3446]
  • 67. Williamson, Malcolm J. 1964. Burning does not control young hardwoods on shortleaf pine sites in the Cumberland Plateau. Res. Note CS-19. Columbus, OH: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Central States Forest Experiment Station. 4 p. [10999]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the terms: fuel, litter, prescribed fire

Black oak up to pole size (about 4 inches [10.2 cm] in d.b.h.) are
easily top-killed by fire, and severe fire may even top-kill
saw-timber-sized black oak [56].

Multistemmed black oak clumps are more susceptible to fire than a
single-stemmed sapling because leaves and other litter get trapped in
the clump and promote a hot fire around the multiple stems [26].

In the eastern highlands of Connecticut, a March prescribed fire was
conducted in a black oak-black cherry forest and an oak (Quercus
spp.)-sweet birch (Betula lenta) forest.  All black oak in the black
oak-black cherry forest survived the fire.  In the oak-sweet birch
forest, where surface litter fire temperatures reached 600 degrees
Fahrenheit (315 deg C), about 25 percent of black oak less than 4 inches
( less than 10.2 cm) in d.b.h. were top-killed, but less than 5 percent were
root-killed.  Approximately 95 percent of black oak between 4 and 12
inches (10.2-30.5 cm) survived the fire.  Larger black oak (10 to 13
inches [25-32.5 cm] in d.b.h) exposed to external temperatures of 129
degrees Fahrenheit (54 deg C) for 7 minutes survived [48].

Prescribed fire in an oak woods in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
top-killed about 50 percent of the black oak.  The litter in the oak
woods produced relatively low aboveground temperatures and total kill of
black oak was infrequent.  Two areas with two and three fires during the
subsequent 4-year period averaged 3.71 and 3.65 percent total mortality
per year respectively.  The unburned control averaged 2.1 percent total
mortality per year [12].

In an April prescribed fire in an oak savanna in southern Wisconsin,
damage to woody species (including black oak) was dependent on the type
of fuel within 12 inches (30 cm) of the stem base.  Cool season grass
fuel caused more fire damage than predominantly oak leaf fuel.  Dry
weight fuel load ranged from 0.60 to 0.75 ounce per square foot (200-250
g/sq m) in leaves and from 0.90 to 1.05 ounce per square foot (300-350
g/sq m) in grass [27].
  • 12. Cole, Kenneth L.; Benjamin, Pamela K.; Klick, Kenneth F. 1990. The effects of prescribed burning on oak woods and prairies in the Indiana Dunes. Restoration & Management Notes. 8(1): 37-38. [13552]
  • 26. Henderson, Richard. 1983. Fire tolerance of black cherry and black oak saplings in a savanna. Restoration & Management Notes. 1(4): 17. [16791]
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]
  • 27. Henderson, Richard A. 1986. Response of seedling and sapling trees to a spring fire in a Wisconsin oak opening. In: Koonce, Andrea L., ed. Prescribed burning in the Midwest: state-of-the-art: Proceedings of a symposium; 1986 March 3-6; Stevens Point, WI. Stevens Point, WI: University of Wisconsin, College of Natural Resources, Fire Science Center: 81-85. [16272]
  • 48. Niering, William A.; Goodwin, Richard H.; Taylor, Sally. 1971. Prescribed burning in southern New England: introduction to long-range studies. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1970 August 20-21; Fredericton, NB. No. 10. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 267-286. [15704]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: tree

   Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/root sucker

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: formation, frequency, hardwood, litter, mesic, surface fire, wildfire

Black oak is moderately resistant to fire [11].  Small black oaks are
easily top-killed by fire but sprout vigorously from the root crown
[56].  Larger black oaks can withstand low-severity surface fire because
of moderately thick basal bark.  They are susceptible to basal wounding
[11].

The prevalent presettlement upland oak forests in the eastern and
central United States were associated with recurring fire.  These
forests probably burned at an intermediate frequency (50 to 100 year
intervals) which promoted the dominance and stability of oak [1].  Fire
provides opportunity for establishment of the more fire-resistant oak
species such as black oak [34].  Black oak is characteristic as a
community dominant only where major disturbances periodically open the
canopy [25].  In dry black oak savannas in Illinois and Wisconsin, an
age analysis of black oaks showed that recruitment of the oaks to the
canopy was related to distinct events, most likely fire.  Fire top-kills
the mesic hardwood understory and allows oak sprouts to compete
successfully [5].

Oak-hickory forest floors are usually not conducive to high-severity
fires, but fires are easily ignited.  The total forest floor fuelbed
weight in a 20-year-old stand of black oak in southeast Missouri
averaged 6.4 tons per acre (14.3 t/ha), 2.0 tons per acre (4.8 t/ha) of
which was loose leaf litter.  Forty-year-old stands averaged 8.3 tons of
forest floor per acre (18.6 t/ha), including 2.9 tons per acre (6.5
t/ha) of loose litter [13].

Because of the reduction in wildfire frequency, oak-hickory forests are
converting to more mixed mesophytic stands.  Fifty-five years after a
late summer fire in south-central Connecticut, the burned area had
higher absolute and relative amounts of oak (black, white, scarlet,
chestnut, and northern red) than the adjacent unburned area [65].  In
Indiana, late successional species (red maple, sassafras, and blackgum)
were present in a black oak-dominated community in Indiana where fire
had been suppressed.  In an adjacent but remote black oak community,
late successional species were not present because fires burned longer
before being noticed and suppressed.  In the more frequently burned
area, overstory trees were rarely killed by fire, and an open understory
was maintained.  Where infrequent, fires killed larger trees and
promoted the formation of an understory thicket [25].

Black oak is restricted from the pine-scrub oak communities of the New
Jersey Pine Barrens because it does not produce viable seed at a young
enough age to become established in areas that burn every 8 to 12 years
[37].
  • 1. Abrams, Marc D. 1992. Fire and the development of oak forests. BioScience. 42(5): 346-353. [19215]
  • 5. Apfelbaum, Steven I.; Haney, Alan W. 1990. Management of degraded oak savanna remnants in the upper Midwest: preliminary results from three years of study. In: Hughes, H. Glenn; Bonnicksen, Thomas M., eds. Restoration `89: the new management challenge: Proceedings, 1st annual meeting of the Society for Ecological Restoration; 1989 January 16-20; Oakland, CA. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Society for Ecological Restoration: 280-291. [14705]
  • 11. Brown, Arthur A.; Davis, Kenneth P. 1973. Forest fire control and use. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 686 p. [15993]
  • 13. Crosby, John S.; Loomis, Robert M. 1974. Some forest floor fuelbed characteristics of black oak stands in southeast Missouri. NC-162. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 4 p. [8153]
  • 25. Henderson, Norman R.; Long, James N. 1984. A comparison of stand structure and fire history in two black oak woodlands in northwestern Indiana. Botanical Gazette. 145(2): 222-228. [8721]
  • 34. Kurz, Herman. 1944. Secondary forest succession in the Tallahassee Red Hills. Proceedings, Florida Academy of Science. 7(1): 59-100. [10799]
  • 37. Little, S. 1964. Fire ecology and forest management in the New Jersey pine region. In: Proceedings, 3rd annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1964 April 9-10; Tallahassee, FL. No. 3. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 35-59. [5893]
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]
  • 65. Ward, Jeffrey S.; Stephens, George R. 1989. Long-term effects of a 1932 surface fire on stand structure in a Connecticut mixed hardwood forest. In: Rink, George; Budelsky, Carl A., eds. Proceedings, 7th central hardwood conference; 1989 March 5-8; Carbondale, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-132. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 267-273. [9389]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: basal area, density, fire frequency, frequency, litter, succession, xeric

Facultative Seral Species

Black oak is intermediate in shade tolerance.  It is more tolerant than
black cherry or shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata), but less tolerant than
white oak, chestnut oak (Quercus prinus), hickories, maples (Acer spp.),
elms (Ulmus spp.), beech (Betula spp.), or blackgum.  Light is required
to recruit black oak seedlings into the sapling stage; seedlings
eventually die under a closed-canopy forest [29,56].

Black oak replaces pines (Pinus spp.) on heavily cutover areas.  It
succeeds sassafras and common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) on upland
old fields [16].  In the Hudson River Valley in New York, stands
dominated by white oak, black oak, and pignut hickory occur on rocky,
nutrient-poor sites.  The open canopy, less distinct vertical
stratification of canopy trees, and diverse herbaceous understory
suggest these forests gradually invade old pasture sites [18].

Black oaks woodlands began invading savannas in Northern Illinois 2 to 3
years after the construction of roads which acted as functional
firebreaks [50].  In the past, the high presettlement fire frequency in
grasslands prevented black oak expansion [1]

The importance of black oak in many forests has declined since human
settlement.  In the absence of disturbance such as fire or windthrow,
black oak is succeeded by more shade-tolerant, mesophytic species.  A
decline in black oak has been documented in an old-growth oak-hickory
forest in southwestern Illinois.  Black oak had been dominant in the
forest since 1821, but it decreased in density and basal area between
1956 and 1983 due to senescence.  Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) has
increased in the forest.  It is believed that black oak originally
established on this site after the New Madrid Earthquake in 1811 or
after a hurricane shortly after the earthquake, both of which caused
much downed timber [59].

In the late 1700's and 1800's in Pennsylvania, massive logging to
provide wood for charcoal-fueled iron furnaces was accompanied by
wildfires.  The combination of logging and fire increased the relative
dominance of oaks, including black oak.  In the 20th century, fire was
suppressed and eventual logging of stands with understories dominated by
red maple, sugar maple, and black cherry accelerated the recruitment of
these mesophytic species into the canopy [2].

In the Hudson River valley in New York, early land surveys indicate the
white oak-black oak-hickory type was prevalent prior to forest clearing.
Since abandonment from agriculture, the type has returned but is not
nearly as important as it was.  The percent occurrence of black oak in
these forests was 15.3 percent in the period before 1800 and only 4.1
percent in 1984 [18].

In a black oak-white oak forest in southern Wisconsin, white oak is
replacing black oak.  Black oak, which is more susceptible to oak wilt
than white oak, is dying.  White oak is not regenerating in the forest
but because it is a longer lived, slower growing species, it is now
replacing black oak [41].

Succession is slow or unlikely in some oak forests on extremely xeric or
nutrient poor sites [1].  Blackjack oak and black oak forests on
extremely xeric, upland sites in Illinois did not exhibit signs of being
replaced by late successional species.  Self-maintenance was evident as
blackjack oak and black oak were important species in the sapling and
seedling layers as well as the overstory [3]. 

Even in the absence of fire, succession towards a richer, mesophytic
forest appears slow or unlikely in a black oak-blueberry community on
the Lake Michigan sand dunes.  Black oak has low nutrient requirements
and is relatively ineffective in returning nutrients to the dune surface
in its litter.  The well-leached dunes remain dry and nutrient poor.
Fire aggravates these conditions and helps perpetuate black oak on these
sites [52].

Some of the most xeric sites of the South Carolina Piedmont are occupied
by old-growth communities of black oak, post oak, and blueridge
blueberry (Vaccinium vacillans).  Although the community appears to be
in steady state, it may evolve into a hickory-dominated community in the
absence of fire [30].
  • 16. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
  • 1. Abrams, Marc D. 1992. Fire and the development of oak forests. BioScience. 42(5): 346-353. [19215]
  • 2. Abrams, Marc D.; Nowacki, Gregory J. 1992. Historical variation in fire, oak recruitment, and post-logging accelerated succession in central Pennsylvania. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 119(1): 19-28. [18210]
  • 3. Adams, Dwight E.; Anderson, Roger C. 1980. Species response to a moisture gradient in central Illinois forests. American Journal of Botany. 67(3): 381-392. [13295]
  • 18. Glitzenstein, Jeff S.; Canham, Charles D.; McDonnell, Mark J.; Streng, Donna R. 1990. Effects of environment and land-use history on upland forests of the Cary Arboretum, Hudson Valley, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 117(2): 106-122. [13301]
  • 29. Johnson, Paul S. 1992. Oak overstory/reproduction relations in two xeric ecosystems in Michigan. Forest Ecology and Management. 48: 233-248. [18157]
  • 30. Jones, Steven M. 1988. Old-growth forests within the Piedmont of South Carolina. Natural Areas Journal. 8(1): 31-37. [11008]
  • 41. McCune, Bruce; Cottam, Grant. 1985. The successional status of a southern Wisconsin oak woods. Ecology. 66(4): 1270-1278. [19218]
  • 50. Nuzzo, Victoria A. 1986. Extent and status of midwest oak savanna: presettlement and 1985. Natural Areas Journal. 6(2): 6-36. [19217]
  • 52. Olson, Jerry S. 1958. Rates of succession and soil changes on southern Lake Michigan sand dunes. Botanical Gazette. 119(3): 125-170. [10557]
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]
  • 59. Shotola, Steven J.; Weaver, G. T.; Robertson, P. A.; Ashby, W. C. 1992. Sugar maple invasion of an old-growth oak-hickory forest in southwestern Illinois. The American Midland Naturalist. 127(1): 125-138. [17581]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: codominant, hypogeal, monoecious, root collar

Sexual:  Black oak is monoecious.  Seed production begins when the tree
is about 20 years old, with maximum production occurring between ages 40
and 75.  Black oak is a consistent seed producer, with good acorn crops
every 2 to 3 years.  Seed dissemination is by squirrels, mice, bluejays,
and other animals, and by gravity.  Rodents and birds often cache acorns
in the soil [56].

Germination is hypogeal.  Burial in or contact with mineral soil and
coverage with a light layer of leaves are favorable conditions for acorn
germination [56].  In a study of black oak and white oak regeneration of
an old field in Michigan, seedlings were more likely to establish
initially in open patches because blue jays preferentially choose open
sites to cache acorns.  However, seedlings that colonized open patches
were not likely to survive beyond the first several years unless the
patch was subsequently invaded by herbaceous vegetation [24].

Seedling growth is slow; average annual height growth of seedlings in
Missouri during a 6-year period was 2.1 inches (5.3 cm) [35].  Seedlings
can survive drought conditions [56].

Vegetative:  Black oak sprouts from the root collar if top-killed or
cut.  Younger individuals are more likely to sprout than older
individuals.  The probability that a stump with a 1-year-old sprout will
have at least one dominant or codominant sprout at age 5 is predictable
from stump diameter.  The probability ranges from 1.0 for 3-inch (7.6
cm) stump diameters to 0.15 for 30-inch (76 cm) stump diameters [56].
Black oak has a low tolerance for multiple sprouts and tends toward the
survival of a single sprout per stump.  In one study, 5, 15, and 25
years after cutting, the average number of sprouts per stump was 7.5,
2.2, and 1.0 respectively [42].

Seedlings often die back and sprout numerous times, thus becoming
advance regeneration.  The roots of black oak saplings may be 10 to 20
years older than the tops [56].  Sprouts grow faster than seedlings.
Average annual height growth of sprouts in Missouri during a 6-year
period was 6.1 inches (15.5 cm) [35].  Generally, the bigger the old
stem is, the faster the height growth of its sprouts [56].
  • 24. Harrison, Janet S.; Werner, Patricia A. 1984. Colonization by oak seedlings into a heterogeneous successional habitat. Canadian Journal of Botany. 62: 559-563. [11979]
  • 35. Liming, Franklin G.; Johnston, John P. 1944. Reproduction in oak-hickory forest stands of the Missouri ozarks. Journal of Forestry. 42(2): 175-180. [8722]
  • 42. McIntyre, A. C. 1936. Sprout groups and their relation to the oak forests of Pennsylvania. Journal of Forestry. 34: 1054-1058. [10086]
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info for the term: phanerophyte

  
   Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

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Reaction to Competition

Black oak is classed as  intermediate in tolerance to shade. It is less tolerant than many  of its associates such as white and chestnut oaks, hickories,  beech (Fagus grandifolia), maples, elm, and blackgum; it  is more tolerant than yellow-poplar (Liriodendron  tulipifera), black cherry, and shortleaf pine (Pinus  echinata); and it is about the same as northern red oak and  scarlet oak. Seedlings usually die within a few years after being  established under fully stocked overstories. Most black oak  sprouts under mature stands develop crooked stems and flat-topped  or misshapen crowns. After the overstory is removed, only the  large stems are capable of competing successfully. Seedlings are  soon overtopped. The few that survive usually remain in the  intermediate crown class (6,24,27).

    Even-aged silvicultural systems satisfy the reproduction and  growth requirements of black oak better than the all-aged or  uneven-aged selection system (1,27). Under the selection system,  black oak is unable to reproduce because of inadequate light.  Stands containing black oak that are managed under the selection  system will gradually be dominated by more shade-tolerant  species.

    Black oak responds well to release if the released trees are in  the codominant or above-average intermediate crown classes. The  best response is obtained if release cuttings or thinnings are  begun before a stand is 30 years old. Trees in stands older than  30 years that have always been fully stocked generally have small  crowns that have been restricted too long. These are unable to  make efficient use of the growing space provided by release or  thinnings. Thus response is not as good as in younger stands  (25).

    Ten years following release in an Arkansas study, diameter growth  of 50-year-old black and northern red oak trees averaged 40  percent more than that of unreleased trees. Although the rate of  diameter growth increased throughout the 10-year period, response  was greater and more apparent ears 5-10.

    Dormant buds are numerous on the holes of black oak trees. These  buds may be stimulated to sprout and produce branches by  mechanical pruning or by exposure to greatly increased light, as  by thinning heavily or creating openings in the stand. Dominant  trees are less likely to produce epicormic branches than those in  the lower crown classes (6,25).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Rooting Habit

No information available.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Ecology

Their presence can signify ancient beach ridges in the Great Lakes Region of the USA. In these locations underneath them there is a characteristic undercover, mostly of grasses, of which Stipa spartea, and Koeleria cristata are representative. In the Great Lakes region of the USA oaks are the dominant trees on the old, heavily forested dunes and there they attain their greatest height and girth. Oaks of the dunes have also a characteristic undercover, chiefly of composites and legumes, such as Kuhnia, Liatris, Aster, Solidago, Helianthus, Lupinus, Lespedeza, Desmodium, and Tephrosia. (Peattie, 1930) It is a consistent producer of medium-sized acorns that have average preference among wildlife, The acorns are often a mid-to-late winter staple among many species of wildlife, from mice to wild turkey. On poor sites, where it often occurs, the tree loses limbs to wind and disease, and the cavities that result from fungal or woodpecker activity supply nests for avian and mammalian secondary cavity users. (Weeks et al, 2005)
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Staminate flowers develop from leaf axils of the previous year.  Catkins
emerge before or at the same time as the current year's leaves, usually
in April or May.  Acorns mature in two growing seasons.  The acorns
ripen from late August to October depending on geographic location, drop
in the fall, and germinate in the spring [56].
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]

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Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering spring.
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This is a perennial tree, with Spring and Summer as active growth periods, and conspicuous Fall foliage. (USDA PLANTS, 2009) Blooms in May to June. In the Great Lakes Region of the USA the oak woods of the high dunes, more than any other trees, give to the autumn woods of this area their glorious appearance. (Peattie, 1930) On these moist sites it often begins seed production at 20 years of age. Leaves may be retained into winter. Flowers appear in April and May along with leaves. Fruit ripens in the fall. (Weeks et al, 2005)
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Life Expectancy

It has a moderate growth rate and a medium life span, reaching a maximum age of around 200 years. (Weeks et al, 2005)
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Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

About 95 percent of the black  oaks in newly reproduced stands created by clearcutting or final  overstory removal are sprouts, either from advance reproduction  or from stumps of cut trees (27). New sprouts from advance  reproduction develop from dormant buds near the root collar when  the old stems are cut or damaged during logging. These new  sprouts grow rapidly and their height growth is related to the  size of the old stem; the larger the old stem, the faster a new  sprout will grow (23,24).

    Stumps of black oaks sprout less frequently than those of northern  red, scarlet, and chestnut oaks and with about the same frequency  as those of white oak (25). A Missouri study showed that  sprouting frequency for black oak stumps is related to site  index, tree age, and stump diameter. Small stumps from young  trees on good sites sprout most frequently while large stumps  from old trees on poor sites sprout least frequently (16). Black  oak stump sprouts grow rapidly: in Missouri the height of  dominant and codominant stems averaged 3.5 m (11.4 ft) at age 5.  The probability that a stump with a living sprout I year old will  have at least one dominant or codominant sprout at age 5 is  predictable from stump diameter and ranges from near 1.0 for 7.6  cm (3 in) stumps to about 0.15 for 76 cm (30 in) stumps. Black  oak stump sprouts may be a valuable component of newly reproduced  stands, particularly if they originate at ground level. The  low-origin sprouts are less susceptible to rot entering from the  parent stump than the high-origin sprouts. Many develop into  trees of good quality (27).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seedling Development

Black oak will be present to the  same extent in newly reproduced stands as it was as advance  reproduction before harvest cutting. New seedlings established at  or just before harvest cutting grow too slowly to compete with  sprouts of other tree species and other vegetation (25,27). To  compete successfully in new stands black oak stems must be 1.2 to  1.5 m (4 to 5 ft) tall and have well-developed root systems.   Success in reproducing black oak depends on creating conditions  within mature stands that will result in seedling establishment  and conditions favoring their survival and growth (1,26).

    Black oak acorns germinate in the spring following seedfall.  Germination is hypogeal (25,28). Most favorable conditions for  germination occur when the acorns are in contact with or buried  in mineral soil and covered with a light layer of litter. Acorns  on top of the litter generally dry excessively during early  spring and lose their viability before temperatures are favorable  for germination. The primary root generally grows vigorously  following germination (6,26). Seedlings can survive droughty  conditions, but growth is slow or even ceases altogether. Black  oak seedlings are more drought tolerant than northern red oak  seedlings and about the same as white oak seedlings (29).

    Light intensity appears to be critical to the survival and growth  of black oak seedlings. Light intensity under forest stands is  often very low at the level of the new seedlings (about 15 cm or  6 in). In Missouri, light intensity at this level in forest  stands was 10 percent or less of that in nearby open areas. The  black oak seedlings in this study averaged 9 cm (3.5 in) tall at  age 4, the same as they averaged at age 1 (26).

    Black oak seedlings that survive seldom remain true seedlings for  more than a few years because drought, low light intensity, fire,  animals, or mechanical agents kill the tops. Then, one or more  dormant buds near the root collar produce new sprouts. This  dieback and resprouting process can occur several times; thus the  roots of black oak saplings may be 10 to 20 years older than the  tops (27). Growth of black oak sprouts, like that of seedlings,  is slow under forest stands. In Missouri, sprouts grew only 6 cm  (2.4 in) in 4 years (26).

    Shoot elongation of black oak is episodic. Multiple shoot-growth  flushes occur in both seedlings and sprouts when light,  temperature, and moisture conditions are favorable. Only one  growth flush occurs on stems growing in a shaded understory.  Periods of active shoot growth are followed by distinctive rest  periods, during which most of the annual root elongation occurs  (22).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seed Production and Dissemination

In forest stands, black  oak begins to produce seeds at about age 20 and reaches optimum  production at 40 to 75 years. It is a consistent seed producer  with good crops of acorns every 2 to 3 years. In Missouri, the  average number of mature acorns per tree was generally higher  than for other oaks over a 5-year period, but the number of  acorns differed greatly from year to year and from tree to tree  within the same stand (6).

    The number of seeds that become available for regenerating black  oak may be low even in good seed years. Insects, squirrels, deer,  turkey, small rodents, and birds consume many acorns. They can  eat or damage a high percentage of the acorn crop in most years  and essentially all of it in poor seed years (6,26).

    Black oak acorns from a single tree are dispersed over a limited  area by squirrels, mice, and gravity (28). The blue jay may  disperse over longer distances (7).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Flowering and Fruiting

Black oak is monoecious. The  staminate flowers develop from leaf axils of the previous year  and the catkins emerge before or at the same time as the current  leaves in April or May. The pistillate flowers are borne in the  axils of the current year's leaves and may be solitary or occur  in two- to many-flowered spikes. The fruit, an acorn that occurs  singly or in clusters of two to five, is about one-third enclosed  in a scaly cup and matures in 2 years. Black oak acorns are  brown when mature and ripen from late August to late October,  depending on geographic location (28).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Growth

Growth and Yield

Black oak becomes physiologically mature  at about 100 years of age, some individuals living 150 to 200  years. On the best sites black oak trees may reach 46 m (150 ft)  in height and 122 cm (48 in) in d.b.h., but most mature trees are  18 to 24 in (60 to 80 ft) tall and 61 to 91 cm (24 to 36 in) in  d.b.h. (6).

    Average diameter growth of black oak for a range of ages, sites,  and stand conditions in the Central States was about 5 min (0.2  in) per year for 10 years. In West Virginia, dominant black oaks  grew faster in diameter than scarlet, chestnut, and white oaks  but slower than northern red oak (6).

    Average growing space requirements for oaks in even-aged stands in  which black oak is a major component have been determined by  Gingrich (9). Competition for growing space in these stands  begins at the level of stocking where the total available space  is equal to the total of the maximum requirement of all the trees  in the stand. This level of stocking is about 60 percent of the  maximum stocking a site can support and is the lowest level of  stocking at which the stand will fully utilize the site. The  maximum amount of growing space a black oak tree can use is 33.3  m³ (358 ft³) for a tree 20 cm (8 in) in d.b.h. and 115  m³ (1,233 ft³) for a tree 51 cin (20 in) in d.b.h. The  minimum growing space required for trees is 13.5 m² (145 ft²)  and 64.8 m² (697 ft²), respectively.

    Yields of unthinned, 80-year-old stands with black oak as a major  component range from 75.6 m³ /ha (5,400 fbm/acre) on poor  sites (site index 16.8 in (55 ft) at base age 50 years) to 175.0  m³ /ha (12,500 fbm/acre) on good sites (site index 22.9 in  or 75 ft). Yields can be increased substantially by thinning  regularly. At age 70, stands that are first thinned at age 20,  with subsequent thinning at about 10-year intervals, yield from  102.9 m³/ha (7,350 fbm/acre) on poor sites to 278.3 m³  /ha (19,880/acre) on good sites (10).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

Although races of black oak have not been identified, a study of  14 populations from southern Indiana to northern Michigan  revealed morphological differences. Northern populations had  smaller acorns with less cup cover, lighter yellow inner bark,  smaller winter buds, and a more branching growth form than  southern populations (21).

    Black oak hybridizes readily with other species in the subgenus  Erythrobalanus. The following named hybrids with Quercus  velutina are recognized (19): Q. coccinea (Q. x fontana  Laughlin); Q. ellipsoidalis (Q. x palaeolithicola Trel.);  Q. falcata (Q. x pinetorum Moldenke); (Q. x  willdenowiana (Dippel) Zabel); Q. ilicifolia (Q. x  rehderi Trel.); Q. imbricaria (Q. x leana Nutt.);  Q. incana (Q. x podophylla Trel.); Q. marilandica (Q.  x bushii Sarg.); Q. nigra (Q. x demarei Ashe); Q.  palustris (Q. x vaga Palmer & Steyerm.); Q. phellos  (Q. x filialis Little); Q. rubra (Q. x hawkinsiae Sudw.);  Q. shumardii (Q. x discreta Laughlin).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Quercus velutina

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Quercus velutina

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: frequency, fuel, natural, selection, tree

Forest managers have noticed a decrease in black oak frequency in newly
regenerated stands after clearcutting, especially on good sites.  The
reason for the decrease is the inability of oak seedlings to compete
successfully with faster growing species in the absence of fire.  Oak
seedlings that are repeatedly top-killed develop well-developed root
systems, and the sprouts (advance regeneration) grow faster than true
seedlings and are better able to compete successfully.  To regenerate
oaks successfully, advance regeneration must be 4 to 5 feet (1.2-1.5 m)
tall before the overstory is removed.  Successful regeneration of a
mixed oak forest can be accomplished by clearcutting only if there are
adequate numbers of large advance regeneration [56].  Otherwise, a
shelterwood silviculture system is recommended in order to allow advance
oak regeneration to grow [55,56].

In a study designed to determine the optimum light levels necessary for
shelterwood regeneration, there was no significant difference in black
oak diameter and height growth between 20 and 94 percent transmission of
full light.  Black oak diameter and height growth was poor under 8
percent of full light, which is similar to uncut stands.  It was
recommended that shelterwoods be cut to permit 20 to 60 percent light
transmission [20].

In a shelterwood cut in Arkansas, understory control (cutting of nonoak
stems and spraying stumps with 2,4-D and picloram immediately after
cutting) resulted in an increase in the number of black oak, white oak
(Quercus alba), and northern red oak regeneration in the 1.1 to 5 foot
(0.3-1.5 m) height class and the over 5 foot (> 1.5 m) class [21].  The
application of nitrogen fertilizer in a shelterwood cut did not
stimulate the growth of black oak, white oak, or northern red oak
advance regeneration.  The fertilizer may have even decreased the
drought tolerance of oaks.  During a drought in 1980, more seedlings
died on fertilized plots than on nonfertilized plots [22].

The use of a shelterwood system does not guarantee the continued
regeneration of black oak.  On a sandy loam site in Michigan, black oak,
which formed two-thirds of the original stand, was reduced 50 percent
during the 20-year period following the initiation of a shelterwood
harvest.  While the shelterwood system was better for oak regeneration
than group or single tree selection systems, the regenerated stand will
have more red maple (Acer rubrum), black cherry (Prunus serotina),
sassafras (Sassafras albidum), dogwood (Cornus spp.), and hickory (Carya
spp.) and less black oak than the original stand [55].

Once black oak is regenerated on a site, thinning of a stand can
increase the growth of remaining trees.  Thirty-two-year-old black oaks
showed 10 to 12 years of increased differential diameter growth after
thinning [14]. 

Black oak is susceptible to a number of diseases and insects.  Oak wilt,
caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, is a vascular disease that
is spread by sap-feeding beetles (Nitidulidae spp.), oak bark beetle
(Pseudopityophthorus minutissimum), and natural root grafts.  The tree
usually dies within several weeks after the symptoms of wilting,
bronzing, and premature leaf defoliation appear [56].

Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar), an introduced species, defoliates black
oak, and two or three successive defoliations can kill a tree.  It is
potentially the most destructive insect to black oak [56].

Black oaks that are stressed from drought, gypsy moth defoliation, old
age, fire, poor site conditions, or other factors often succumb to
secondary agents such as twolined chestnut borer (Agrilus bilineatus),
Hypoxylon canker (Hypoxylon mammatum), and shoestring root rot
(Armillaria mellea).  This scenario, in which a primary agent stresses
the tree and a secondary agent kills it, is known as "oak decline" and
is responsible for considerable black oak mortality.  For instance,
between 1911 and 1921, 46 percent of black oaks in coastal regions of
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine died when gypsy moth defoliation
and drought was followed by twolined chestnut borer and shoestring root
rot attack [44].  Based on site factors, a general stand classification
of mortality risk from oak decline has been developed [60].

Foliage diseases include anthracnose (Gnomonia quercina), leaf blister
(Taphrina spp.), powdery mildews (Phyllactinia corylea and Microsphaera
alni), oak-pine rusts (Cronartium spp.), and leaf spots (Actinopelte
dryina).  A root rot, Phytophthora cinnamomi, kills seedlings in
nurseries.  Strumella spp. and Nectria spp. cause bole cankers [56].

Tunneling insects that attack black oak boles include carpenterworm
(Prionoxystus robiniae), red oak borer (Enaphalodes rufulus), oak
timberworm (Arrhenodes minutes), and Columbian timber beetle (Corthylus
columbianus).  Oakleaf caterpillar (Heterocampa manteo), orange
striped oakworm (Anisota senatoria), and browntail moth (Euproctis
chrysorrhoea) defoliate black oak.  Acorns are damaged by nut weevils
(Curculio spp.), gall-forming cynipids (Callirhytis spp.), filbertworm
(Melissopus latiferreanus), and acorn moth (Valentinia glandulella)
[56]. 

Black oaks that had recently invaded a prairie in Illinois were
successfully removed by cutting stems (mostly smaller than 4 inches
[10.2 cm] in d.b.h.) and painting stumps with 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T mixed
with fuel oil to prevent sprouting [32].
  • 14. Cutter, Bruce E.; Lowell, Kim E.; Dwyer, John P. 1991. Thinning effects on diameter growth in black and scarlet oak as shown by tree ring analyses. Forest Ecology and Management. 43: 1-13. [16684]
  • 20. Gottschalk, Kurt W. 1985. Effects of shading on growth and development of northern red oak, black oak, black cherry, and red maple seedlings. I. Height, diameter, and ... In: Dawson, Jeffrey O.; Majerus, Kimberly A, eds. 5th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 1985 April 15 - April 17; Urbana-Champaign, IL. Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois, Department of Forestry: 189-195. [12648]
  • 21. Graney, David L. 1989. Growth of oak, ash, and cherry reproduction following overstory thinning and understory control in upland hardwood stands of northern Arkansas. SO-74. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station. 245- p. [12548]
  • 22. Graney, David L.; Rogerson, Thomas L. 1985. Development of oak, ash and cherry reproduction following thinning and fertilization of upland hardwood stands in the Boston Mtns. of Arkansas. SO-54. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station. 171-7 p. [12525]
  • 32. Kilburn, Paul D. 1970. Hill prairie restoration. In: Schramm, Peter, ed. Proceedings of a symposium on prairie and prairie restoration; 1968 September 14-15; Galesburg, IL. Special Publication No. 3. Galesburg, IL: Knox College, Biological Field Station: 50-51. [2785]
  • 44. Millers, Imants; Shriner, David S.; Rizzo, David. 1989. History of hardwood decline in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-126. Bromall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 75 p. [10925]
  • 55. Rudolph, Victor J.; Lemmien, Walter A. 1976. Silvicultural cuttings in an oak-hickory stand in Michigan: 21-year results. In: Fralish, James S.; Weaver, George T.; Schlesinger, Richard C., eds. Central hardwood forest conference: Proceedings of a meeting; 1976 October 17-19; Carbondale, IL. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University: 431-453. [3816]
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]
  • 60. Starkey, Dale A.; Oak, Steven W. 1989. Site factors and stand conditions associated with oak decline in Southern upland hardwood forests. In: Rink, George; Budelsky, Carl A., eds. Proceedings, 7th central hardwood conference; 1989 March 5-8; Carbondale, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-132. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 95-102. [9372]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full or partial sun and mesic to dry conditions. Black Oak adapts to many types of soil, including those that contain deep loam, clay, rocky material, or sand. This tree begins the production of acorns after 20 years, and its longevity is not uncommonly 150-200 years. An infestation of oak wilt disease can be fatal.
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Other uses and values

The bark of black oak contains enough tannin to make commercial
extraction worthwhile.  A yellow dye, suitable for coloring natural
fibers, can be obtained by boiling the inner bark [28].
  • 28. Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p. [3375]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Black oak naturally regenerated on abandoned lead-zinc mine sites in
Wisconsin and Iowa.  The soil has high concentrations of lead and zinc,
but soil pH is not very low [9].  Minor amounts of black oak were
planted on Indiana surface mines between 1928 and 1975 [10], but its
success on these sites has not been documented in the literature.
  • 10. Brothers, Timothy S. 1988. Indiana surface-mine forests: historical development and composition of a human-created vegetation complex. Southeastern Geographer. 28(1): 19-33. [8787]
  • 9. Blewett, Thomas J. 1988. Natural forest recovery of lead pit mines. Restoration & Management Notes. 6(2): 92-93. [6140]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Black oak acorns provide food for numerous wildlife species including
squirrels, mice, voles, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey.  In
Illinois, fox squirrels have been seen feeding on black oak catkins [56].
Black oak has a high cavity value for wildlife [15].  Trunk cavities in
live black oaks were important nest sites for the northern flicker on
Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.  Mean nest height was approximately 3.3
feet (1 m) above the ground [43].
  • 15. DeGraaf, Richard M; Shigo, Alex L. 1985. Managing cavity trees for wildlife in the Northeast. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-101. Broomall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 21 p. [13481]
  • 43. Miller, Eileen; Miller, Donald R. 1980. Snag use by birds. In: DeGraaf, Richard M., technical coordinator. Management of western forests and grasslands for nongame birds; 1980 February 11-14; Salt Lake City, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-86. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 337-356. [17914]
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]

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Wood Products Value

The wood of black oak, which is light brown with a nearly white sapwood,
is sold as "red oak" and used for furniture, flooring, and interior
finishing [25,56].  It is also used for barrels and railroad ties [61].
  • 25. Henderson, Norman R.; Long, James N. 1984. A comparison of stand structure and fire history in two black oak woodlands in northwestern Indiana. Botanical Gazette. 145(2): 222-228. [8721]
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]
  • 61. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804]

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Nutritional Value

Black oak acorns are 5.7 percent crude protein, 17.5 percent crude fat,
0.19 percent calcium, and 0.10 percent phosphorus [58].
  • 58. Short, Henry L. 1976. Composition and squirrel use of acorns of black and white oak groups. Journal of Wildlife Management. 40(3): 479-483. [10590]

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Special Uses

Black oak acorns are an important food for squirrels, white-tail  deer, mice, voles, turkeys, and other birds (11). In Illinois,  fox squirrels have been observed feeding on black oak catkins  (14). Black oak is not extensively planted as an ornamental, but  its fall color contributes greatly to the esthetic value of oak  forests.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Uses

The tough wood can be used in flooring and crating. (Hultman, 1978) The nuts are generally inedible. The bark and wood are valued in tanning and the inner bark yields an important dye known as quercitron. (Peattie, 1930) Early weavers used to extract the yellow color form the inner bark to use as a dye. (Weeks et al, 2005) May be used for fuel wood production and lumber products, including veneers. (USDA PLANTS, 2009)

In landscaping the tree is hardy through Zone 3, though it is rarely offered by nurseries. Black oak tolerates salt, but does only moderately well in high ozone areas. It does not survive well in droughty conditions despite being a dry-site species. (Weeks et al, 2005)

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Wikipedia

Quercus velutina

Quercus velutina, the eastern black oak or more commonly known as simply black oak, is an oak in the red oak (Quercus sect. Lobatae) group of oaks. It is native to eastern North America from southern Ontario south to northern Florida and southern Maine west to northeastern Texas. It is a common tree in the Indiana Dunes and other sandy dunal ecosystems along the southern shores of Lake Michigan. Quercus velutina was previously known as yellow oak due to the yellow pigment in its inner bark, however nowadays this name is usually reserved for Chinkapin oak.[1] It is a close relative of the western black oak (Quercus kelloggii) found in western North America.

Description[edit]

In the northern part of its range, black oak is a relatively small tree, reaching a height of 20–25 m (65–80 ft) and a diameter of 90 cm (35 in), but it grows larger in the south and center of its range, where heights of up to 42 m (140 ft) are known. Black oak is well known to readily hybridize with other members of the red oak (Quercus sect. Lobatae) group of oaks being one parent in at least a dozen different named hybrids.

Detail of mature bark
Quercus velutina.jpg
Young leaves are densely pubescent.

The leaves of the black oak are alternately arranged on the twig and are 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long with 5-7 bristle tipped lobes separated by deep U-shaped notches. The upper surface of the leaf is a shiny deep green, the lower is yellowish-brown. There are also stellate hairs on the underside of the leaf that grow in clumps.

The inner bark of the black oak contains a yellow pigment called quercitron, which was sold commercially in Europe until the 1940s.

Key Characteristics:

Sun leaves have very deep u-shaped sinuses.

The buds are velvety and covered in white hair.

The fruits or acorns of the black oak are medium-sized and broadly rounded.[2] The cap is large and covers almost half of the nut.

Soil and topography[edit]

In southern New England, black oak grows on cool, moist soils. Elsewhere it occurs on warm, moist soils.

The most widespread soils on which black oak grows are the Udalfs and Udolls. These soils are derived from glacial materials, sandstones, shales, and limestone and range from heavy clays to loamy sands with some having a high content of rock or chert fragments. Black oak grows best on well drained, silty clay to loam soils.

Black oak grows on all aspects and slope positions. It grows best in coves and on middle and lower slopes with northerly and easterly aspects. It is found at elevations up to 1200 m (4,000 ft) in the southern Appalachians.

The most important factors determining site quality for black oak are the thickness and texture of the A horizon, texture of the B horizon, aspect, and slope position. Other factors may be important in localized areas. For example, in northwestern West Virginia increasing precipitation to 1120 mm (44 in) resulted in increased site quality; more than 1120 mm (44 in) had no further effect. In southern Indiana, decreasing site quality was associated with increasing slope steepness.

Near the limits of black oak's range, topographic factors may restrict its distribution. At the western limits black oak is often found only on north and east aspects where moisture conditions are most favorable. In southern Minnesota and Wisconsin it is usually found only on ridge tops and the lower two-thirds of south- and west-facing slopes.

Black oak is often a predominant species in the canopy of an oak-heath forest.[3][4]

Associated forest cover[edit]

Black Oak is the forest cover type that designates pure stands of the species or those in which it makes up more than 50 percent of the stand basal area. Black oak is a major associate in White Oak-Black Oak-Northern Red Oak.

Other tree associates of black oak include pignut hickory (Carya glabra), mockernut hickory (C. tomentosa), bitternut hickory (C. cordiformis), and shagbark hickory (C. ovata); American elm (Ulmus americana) and slippery elm (U. rubra); white ash (Fraxinus americana); black walnut (Juglans nigra) and butternut (J. cinerea); scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea), southern red oak (Q. falcata), and chinkapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii); red maple (Acer rubrum) and sugar maple (A. saccharum); black cherry (Prunus serotina); and blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica).

Common small tree associates of black oak include flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), eastern hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), redbud (Cercis canadensis), pawpaw (Asimina triloba), downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), and American bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia). Common shrubs include Vaccinium spp., mountain-laurel (Kalmia latifolia), witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), sumac (Rhus spp.), and Viburnum spp. The most common vines are greenbrier (Smilax spp.), grape (Vitis spp.), poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).

Flowers and fruiting[edit]

Black oak is monoecious. The staminate flowers develop from leaf axils of the previous year and the catkins emerge before or at the same time as the current leaves in April or May. The pistillate flowers are borne in the axils of the current year's leaves and may be solitary or occur in two- to many-flowered spikes. The fruit, an acorn that occurs singly or in clusters of two to five, is about one-third enclosed in a scaly cup and matures in 2 years. Black oak acorns are brown when mature and ripen from late August to late October, depending on geographic location.

Seed production and dissemination[edit]

In forest stands, black oak begins to produce seeds at about age 20 and reaches optimum production at 40 to 75 years. It is a consistent seed producer with good crops of acorns every 2 to 3 years. In Missouri, the average number of mature acorns per tree was generally higher than for other oaks over a 5-year period, but the number of acorns differed greatly from year to year and from tree to tree within the same stand.

The number of seeds that become available for regenerating black oak may be low even in good seed years. Insects, squirrels, deer, turkey, small rodents, and birds consume many acorns. They can eat or damage a high percentage of the acorn crop in most years and essentially all of it in poor seed years.

Black oak acorns from a single tree are dispersed over a limited area by squirrels, mice, and gravity. The blue jay may disperse over longer distances.

Response to competition[edit]

Black oak is classed as intermediate in tolerance to shade. It is less tolerant than many of its associates such as white and chestnut oaks, hickories, beech (Fagus grandifolia), maples, elm, and blackgum. However it is more tolerant than yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), black cherry, and shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata). It is about the same as northern red oak and scarlet oak. Seedlings usually die within a few years after being established under fully stocked over stories. Most black oak sprouts under mature stands develop crooked stems and flat-topped or misshapen crowns. After the over story is removed, only the large stems are capable of competing successfully. Seedlings are soon overtopped. The few that survive usually remain in the intermediate crown class.

Even-aged silvicultural systems satisfy the reproduction and growth requirements of black oak better than the all-aged or uneven-aged selection system. Under the selection system, black oak is unable to reproduce because of inadequate light. Stands containing black oak that are managed under the selection system will gradually be dominated by more shade-tolerant species.

Dormant buds are numerous on the boles of black oak trees. These buds may be stimulated to sprout and produce branches by mechanical pruning or by exposure to greatly increased light, as by thinning heavily or creating openings in the stand. Dominant trees are less likely to produce epicormic branches than those in the lower crown classes.

Damaging agents[edit]

Wildfires seriously damage black oak trees by killing the cambium at the base of the trees. This creates an entry point for decay fungi. The end result is loss of volume because of heart rot. Trees up to pole size are easily killed by fire and severe fires may even kill saw timber. Many of the killed trees sprout and form a new stand. However, the economic loss may be large unless at least some of it can be salvaged.

Oak wilt (Ceratocystis fagacearum) is a potentially serious vascular disease of black oak that is widespread throughout the eastern United States. Trees die within a few weeks after the symptoms first appear. Usually scattered individuals or small groups of trees are killed, but areas several hectares in size may be affected. The disease is spread from tree to tree through root grafts and over larger distances by sap-feeding beetles (Nitidulidae) and the small oak bark beetle.

Shoestring root rot (Armillaria mellea) attacks black oak and may kill trees weakened by fire, lightning, drought, insects, or other diseases. A root rot, Phytophthora cinnamomi, may kill seedlings in the nursery. Cankers caused by Strumella and Nectria species damage the holes of black oak but seldom kill trees. Foliage diseases that attack black oak are the same as those that typically attack species in the red oak group and include anthracnose (Gnomonia quercina), leaf blister (Taphrina spp.), powdery mildews (Phyllactinia corylea and Microsphaera alni), oak-pine rusts (Cronartium spp.), and leaf spots (Actinopelte dryina).

Tunneling insects that attack the boles of black oak and cause serious lumber degrade include the carpenter worm (Prionoxystus robiniae), red oak borer (Enaphalodes rufulus), the twolined chestnut borer (Agrilus bilineatus), the oak timber worm (Arrhenodes minutus), and the Columbian timber beetle (Corthylus columbianus).

The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) feeds on foliage and is potentially the most destructive insect. Although black oaks withstood a single defoliation, two or three defoliations in successive years kill many trees. Other defoliators that attack black oak and may occasionally be epidemic are the variable oak leaf caterpillar (Heterocampa manteo), the orange striped oakworm (Anisota senatoria), and the brown tail moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea).

The nut weevils (Curculio spp.), gall-forming cynipids (Callirhytis spp.), filbertworm (Melissopus latiferreanus), and acorn moth (Valentinia glandulella) damage black oak acorns.

Named hybrids involving black oak[edit]

Obsolete scientific name[edit]

An obsolete name is Quercus tinctoria. New International Encyclopedia

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Quercus velutina Lam". Na.fs.fed.us. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  2. ^ A. Martin, and Z. Herbert. 1987. A Golden Guide Trees
  3. ^ The Natural Communities of Virginia Classification of Ecological Community Groups (Version 2.3), Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2010
  4. ^ Schafale, M. P. and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina: third approximation. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.
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Notes

Comments

The bark of this species (quercitron) is rich in tannins and was once an important source of these chemicals used for tanning leather. (The yellow dye obtained from the bark is also called quercitron.) 

 Native Americans used Quercus velutina medicinally for indigestion, chronic dysentery, mouth sores, chills and fevers, chapped skin, hoarseness, milky urine, lung trouble, sore eyes, and as a tonic, an antiseptic, and an emetic (D. E. Moerman 1986).

Quercus velutina reportedly hybridizes with Q . coccinea , Q . ellipsoidalis (= Q . × paleolithicola Trelease), Q . falcata [= Q . × willdenowiana (Dippel) Zabel] (= Q . × pinetorum Moldenke)], Q . ilicifolia (= Q . × rehderi Trelease), Q . imbricaria (= Q . × leana Nuttall), Q . incana , Q . laevis , and Q . laurifolia (= Q . × cocksii Sargent, although E. J. Palmer [1948] challenged the validity of this claim), Q . marilandica , Q . nigra , Q . palustris (= Q . × vaga E. J. Palmer & Steyermark), Q . phellos (= Q . × filialis Little), Q . rubra , Q . shumardii , and possibly Q . arkansana (D. M. Hunt 1989).

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

More info for the term: cover

The currently accepted scientific name of black oak is Quercus velutina
Lam. [36]. It has been placed within the subgenus Erythrobalanus, or
red (black) oak group [51,56]. The following rarely used forms have
been distinguished on the basis of leaf lobe variation and pubescence
[61]:

Q. v. f. macrophylla (Dippel) Trel.
Q. v. f. dilanianta Trel.
Q. v. f. pagodaeformis Trel.

There appears to be complete integration between the forms [61]. Some
northern populations of black oak in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan
have smaller acorns with less cup cover, lighter inner bark, smaller
winter buds, and a more branching growth form than populations in
southern Indiana [56]. Voss [64] suggests that these may be hybrids
between black oak and northern red oak (Q. rubra) or scarlet oak (Q.
coccinea).

Black oak hybridizes with the following species [36,56]:

x Q. coccinea (scarlet oak): Q. X fontana Laughlin
x Q. ellipsoidalis (northern pin oak): Q. X palaeolithicola Trel.
x Q. falcata (southern red oak): Q. X willdenowiana (Dippel) Zabel
Q. X pinetorum Moldenke
x Q. ilicifolia (bear oak): Q. X rehderi Trel.
x Q. imbricaria (shingle oak): Q. X leana Nutt.
x Q. incana (bluejack oak): Q. X podophylla Trel.
x Q. marilandica (blackjack oak): Q. X bushii Sarg.
x Q. nigra (water oak): Q. X demarei Ashe
x Q. palustris (pin oak): Q. X vaga Palmer & Steyerm.
x Q. phellos (willow oak): Q. X filialis Little
x Q. rubra (northern red oak): Q. X hawkinsiae Sudw.
x Q. shumardii (Shumard oak): Q. X discreta Laughlin
  • 36. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952]
  • 56. Sander, Ivan L. 1990. Quercus velutina Lam. black oak. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-750. [19219]
  • 51. Olson, David F., Jr. 1974. Quercus L. oak. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 692-703. [7737]
  • 61. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804]
  • 64. Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 724 p. [11472]

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Common Names

black oak
yellow oak
quercitron oak
quercitron
yellow-bark oak
yellowbark oak
yellow butt oak
smooth-bark oak
smoothbark oak

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Synonyms

Quercus velutina var. missouriensis Sarg.
Quercus leiodermis Ashe

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