Historically, Native Americans used oaks to make a wide variety of medicines. However, the black oak is not as common in the nursery trade because it can be difficult to transplant. Black oak (Quercus velutina) is a common, medium-sized to large oak of the eastern and midwestern United States. Occurs naturally on rocky, sandy, or dry upland ridges and slopes; also on sandstone, chert, or igneous glades and along borders of woods and fields. The inner bark is distinctively mustard yellow or orange, and bitter. Trees are woody plants over 13 feet tall with a single trunk. It is sometimes called the eastern black oak. For graduate student information, contact Dr. Doug Archbold at 859-257-3352, or darchbol@uky.edu, Black Oak - Quercus velutinaBeech Family (Fagaceae). Black oaks can be used in landscaping and windbreaks, and their wood becomes rough lumber and many wood products, including flooring, pallets, railroad ties, and bridge timbers. Black oak is seldom used as an ornamental. This oak's inner bark, however, is yellow or deep orange and is used to make a yellow dye called quercitron. Leaves are alternate, simple, with 5–7 bristle-tipped lobes, cut deep or shallow. Growth habit: Black oak has a variable, irregular form and may look unruly. 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. Archie and Gracie Vanderhoef Memorial State Forest, Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants. The wood is usually of less value than red oak because the trees are often more open grown and tend to develop more branches. Leaves are alternate, simple, with 5–7 bristle-tipped lobes, cut deep or shallow. Like other tree species, oaks can suffer where construction means a change in the grade around the root system of the tree. Recently these oaks have been declining, and public land managers are working to restore those areas to the original pine woodlands, currently one of our rarest forest communities. Acorns ripen in autumn of second year. Famed botanical author Donald Culross Peattie pointed out that, "as a forest tree, as part of the hard, untamed, original sylva," black oak "has a rough, unbending grandeur of its own.". Send mail to cgcass0@uky.edu with questions about this site. Black oak is a medium-sized tree with a wide-spreading, open crown and tall, straight trunk. Cultivated, it grows on a great variety of sites and will reach commercial saw-log size on almost every soil type, but it is slow-growing and lacks the brilliant fall color that some other oaks have. Fruits September–October. End buds sharp-pointed, distinctly angled, covered with gray hairs. Black Oak. Tree & Plant Care. Quercus velutina, the black oak, is a species of oak in the red oak group (Quercus sect. Prune oaks in the dormant season to avoid attracting beetles that may carry oak wilt. WARNING: Some websites to which these materials provide links for the convenience of users are not managed by the University of Kentucky. An Equal Opportunity University. Lobatae), native and widespread in eastern and central North America. The very prominent tap root of black oak ensures this species' survival under poor growing conditions. Although the native black oak is most frequently found in dry, poor areas, it prefers rich soil. Oak wilt is a potential disease problem. All oak flowers are similar in appearance and emerge in early spring as the new leaves are expanding. The specific epithet, velutina, is derived from the Latin word for fleece, wool or down, vellus, which refers to this species' velvety winter buds and young foliage. There are no sharp dividing lines between trees, shrubs, and woody vines, or even between woody and nonwoody plants. Shrubs are less than 13 feet tall, with multiple stems. Black oak leaves have 5–7 bristle-tipped lobes, cut deep or shallow. Native habitat: Central and eastern North America in poor, dry soils. Black oak can be difficult to transplant due to a deep taproot. Cup with inner surface and scale edges hairy; deep, covering acorn halfway. Find local MDC conservation agents, consultants, education specialists, and regional offices. As a large shade tree, it is less attractive than many of the other native oaks. They are 5–10 inches long, 3–8 inches wide, dark and shiny above, pale and conspicuously fuzzy underneath (the species name, velutina, means "velvety"). They are 5–10 inches long, 3–8 inches wide, dark and shiny above, pale and conspicuously fuzzy underneath (the species name, velutina, means "velvety"). We facilitate and provide opportunity for all citizens to use, enjoy, and learn about these resources. Black oak is a medium-sized tree with a wide-spreading, open crown and tall, straight trunk. A consistent producer of acorns, black oak feeds blue jays, woodpeckers, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, bobwhite, mice, squirrels, raccoons, and deer. Vines require support or else sprawl over the ground. In younger black oak trees, the barks is uniform and the color is gray, but when it matures the color would turn to black and getting thicker and has some wrinkles on it. Twigs stout, reddish-brown, hairy at first, smooth with age. It is found in all the coastal states from Maine to Texas, inland as far as Michigan, Ontario, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and eastern Texas. The ½- to 3/4-inch acorn is coated with rust-colored down and the top half is enclosed in a cap. They are 5–10 inches long, 3–8 inches wide, dark and shiny above, pale and conspicuously fuzzy underneath. This site was last updated on November 19, 2020. For general undergraduate student information, contact Dr. Rick Durham at (859) 257-3249, or rdurham@uky.edu. While it's possible to sell one or more trees for lumber, research and effort are required to get a good price from a reputable buyer. When old-growth shortleaf pine was logged from the Ozarks from 1890 to 1920, scarlet and black oak colonized those lands. Tree size: This tree usually grows to a height of 50 to 60 feet. Its seedlings, however, will not survive in shade so the black oak is often relegated to poor soils in native areas. It is sometimes called yellow oak, quercitron, yellowbark oak, or smoothbark oak. The university does not review, control or take responsibility for the contents of those sites. Bark is smooth on branches, becoming black and very rough. Often used as a wood substitute for red oak, black oak is a small to medium sized tree that prefers to grow on poor soiled hillsides instead of valleys where the bigger White and Red Oaks grow. Black oak (Quercus velutina) or Eastern Black oak is a rather a small oak tree compared to other oaks with a height only up to 25 meters and 0.9 meters in its diameter.

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