Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Quercus grisea


Introductory

SPECIES: Quercus grisea
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Pavek, Diane S. 1994. Quercus grisea. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].

ABBREVIATION : QUEGRI SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : QUGR3 COMMON NAMES : gray oak grey oak shin oak scrub oak TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of gray oak is Quercus grisea Liebm. It is a member of the oak family (Fagaceae) [11,32]. There are no recognized infrataxa. Gray oak hybridizes with four other oak species where it overlaps their ranges: Gambel oak (Q. gambelii) [1,57], sandpaper oak (Q. pungens), Mohr shin oak (Q. mohriana) [11,22,44], and Arizona white oak (Q. arizonica) [14,32,60]. LIFE FORM : Tree, Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Quercus grisea
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Although of limited distribution overall, gray oak is relatively common in the Trans-Pecos area of Texas [50].  Its range extends from Texas westward into the mountains of central and southern New Mexico [48]. Gray oak is less common in central and southeastern Arizona [35,60]. The scattered populations of gray oak in northern Mexico extend southward to Durango and westward from Coahuila to Sonora [27,36,48,57]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES21  Ponderosa pine    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES32  Texas savanna    FRES33  Southwestern shrubsteppe    FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub    FRES35  Pinyon - juniper STATES :      AZ  NM  TX  MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     7  Lower Basin and Range    12  Colorado Plateau    13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont    14  Great Plains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K018  Pine - Douglas-fir forest    K019  Arizona pine forest    K023  Juniper - pinyon woodland    K031  Oak - juniper woodlands SAF COVER TYPES :     66  Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper     67  Mohrs (shin) oak    210  Interior Douglas-fir    235  Cottonwood - willow    237  Interior ponderosa pine    239  Pinyon - juniper    240  Arizona cypress    241  Western live oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Gray oak is a dominant or codominant member of the Madrean evergreen oak woodlands, encinal, and pine-oak (Pinus spp.-Quercus spp.) communities [5,6,7,25,34,38].  It is a codominant or a common mid-story tree in juniper (Juniperus spp.)-Mexican pinyon (Pinus cembroides) and juniper-true pinyon pine (P. edulis)-oak habitat series or community types [13,28,41,43,49,54,56].  Gray oak is a dominant species in the juniper-gray oak association [7,24,26,43].  It is the principal tree in gray oak series and community types [3,41,56].  Gray oak occurs as a dominant shrub in pinyon-juniper woodlands [30,47,57].  In riparian habitats, gray oak is an important subdominant species in the bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum)-oak series, in the western soapberry (Sapindus saponaria) and lanceleaf cottonwood (Populus acuminata)/ sandbar willow (Salix exigua) habitat types, and in mesophytic communities of New Mexico and Texas [22,40,42,46,56].  It may replace little walnut (Juglans microcarpa) in wet areas [46].  Gray oak is an indicator species in the ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) series and occurs in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forests that have a lower stratum of oaks [2,14,20,34,42,56].  Some of the publications in which gray oak is listed as a dominant or indicator species are: (1)  Classification of the forest vegetation on the National Forests of        Arizona and New Mexico [2] (2)  Forest and woodland habitat types (plant associations) of Arizona        south of the Mogollon Rim and southwestern New Mexico [3] (3)  Forest habitat types in the Apache, Gila, and part of the Cibola        National Forests, Arizona and New Mexico [20] (4)  Woodland communities and soils of Fort Bayard, southwestern New        Mexico [41] (5)  Plant communities of Texas (Series level): February 1992 [56]. Several woody species associated with gray oak that were not previously mentioned in the Distribution and Occurrence information include fendlerbush (Fendlera rupicola), bushy sage (Salvia ramosissima), Texas madrone (Arbutus texana), Fremont barberry (Berberis fremontii), Louisiana sagewort (Artemisia ludoviciana), and soaptree yucca (Yucca elata) [9,12,16,40].

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Quercus grisea
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : The hard, heavy wood of gray oak has little commercial value.  It is used as fence posts and firewood [17,31,60].  Large-sized gray oak are sometimes used for furniture [31]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Gray oak is seldom used by cattle or sheep, but other livestock and wildlife browse gray oak leaves [17,29,60].  In a feeding study in New Mexico, gray oak ingestion adversely affected angora goat nutritional status by significantly (P<0.05) reducing forage intake, digestibility, and nitrogen retention [29].  Gray oak is valuable spring browse for pronghorn [8].  Its leaves are highly utilized by elk, white-tailed deer, and mule deer [54].  Squirrels, rodents, Arizona porcupine, Merriam's turkeys, thick-billed parrots, Viosca's pigeons, and other birds consume gray oak acorns [17,53,59,60]. In Upper Dog Canyon of the Guadalupe Mountains in Texas and New Mexico, where gray oak occurred in a bigtooth maple community, 42 breeding bird species were recorded over a 3-year period [45]. PALATABILITY : Gray oak is unpalatable to cattle and sheep and has fair palatability for pronghorn [8,29]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Gray oak has a lower digestibility than alfalfa.  In one study, gray oak leaves and stems had 8 percent crude protein and 38 percent in vivo digestibility.  It had 1.7 percent total nitrogen and 35.1 percent acid detergent fiber [29].  In New Mexico, the phosphorus levels of the current growth were at favorable levels for elk and mule deer during spring.  Current growth digestibility over the year ranged from 51 percent in winter to 39 percent in the fall; protein was 11 percent in the spring and 7 to 8 percent for the rest of the year [54]. COVER VALUE : The low shrubby growth form of gray oak provides good cover for jack rabbits, cottontails, encinal mice, gray fox, and racoon [13]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : Although no direct reference to gray oak acorn consumption by humans was found in the literature, gray oak belongs to the white oak subgenus (Lepidobalanus).  Edible acorns are a characteristic of the group [32]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Gray oak often occurs on sites of poor quality for timber production [20]. Equations have been developed to estimate gray oak volume and biomass as measures of current production and utilization [10,37]. In the southwestern United States, herbicides and mechanical methods have been used with good grazing practices to control woody plants such as gray oak [26].  Angora goats are not effective in controlling gray oak [29]. Gray oak appeared to decrease under grazing in an evergreen woodland in Texas.  The importance value of gray oak on plots protected from grazing from 1946 to 1962 in livestock grazed plots was 133; the importance value on grazed plots was 83 [23]. Converted pinyon-juniper woodlands provide grasslands or enhance watersheds.  These large scale clearings of pinyon-juniper woodlands reduce gray oak populations [30,54].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Quercus grisea
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Gray oak is a native medium-sized tree from 20 to 65 feet (6-20 m) tall [12,32,35].  Its growth form varies from a tree with one trunk to a clonal shrub [1].  Gray oak is many branched.  It may be low growing and less than 18 inches (45.7 cm) in diameter [12].  Gray oak leaves are evergreen or drought-deciduous, depending upon the amount of winter precipitation received [1,50].  The leaves are leathery and small, 0.8 to 3 inches (2-7.5 cm) long [17].  Pistillate catkins have one to six flowers; staminate catkins are loosely flowered.  Acorns are solitary or paired and are about 0.5 inch (1.2 cm) long [11,60]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :       Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Gray oak reproduces asexually and sexually.  Shrubby gray oak puts out many ramets [1].  Gray oak is monoecious.  Acorns are produced annually [11,60].  No information on gray oak acorn germination was found in the literature.  However, the other southwestern oaks, such as Arizona white oak and Emory oak (Q. emoryi), have no seed dormancy.  Most germination occurs within 30 days after acorns drop from the trees [39].  Acorn consumption by animals may substantially depress gray oak establishment rates. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Gray oak occurs along drainages, arroyos, rocky slopes, foothills, bajadas, stream sides, and terraces [16,19,41,50].  It is a facultative riparian species [40].  Gray oak has a low-growing form in open savannas [16].  It reaches tree size in mesic canyons [12,17].  Gray oak occurs in semiarid climates characterized by mild winters, hot summers, and dry springs [14,37,52].  It is found on shallow, rocky soils with textures that range from clays to sandy loams. The soils often are derived from igneous or dolomitic parent materials [13,41,44,50]. Gray oak can be found from lower slopes to ridgetops [20].  It occurs from 4,000 to 9,000 feet (1,219-2,743 m) throughout its range [17,37,50].  Gray oak predominantly occurs on north-facing exposures on lower slopes, but it has been reported from all aspects [12,20,22,41]. At higher elevations, it may be restricted to sun-exposed or southeastern aspects [1,20]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Gray oak is a seral or climax understory species in pinyon-juniper woodlands [49].  Following cabling or fire in pinyon-juniper woodlands, gray oak and other oaks begin to establish after about 4 years, during the grass and forb stage [30,49].  Gray oak is a seral species in Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine forests, and a climax understory species in ponderosa pine and Chihuahuan pine (Pinus leiophylla var. chihuahuana) forests [12,14,34].  Gray oak is a climax species in Madrean evergreen oak and encinal communities [25,34]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Gray oak flowers as new leaves emerge [17].  Acorns mature during the autumn [60].  Leaves may remain throughout the winter until new leaves are produced in mid-March through April [1].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Quercus grisea
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Gray oak is codominant or present in Mexican pinyon habitat types.  The fire chronology of Mexican pinyon types, in which gray oak occurs, indicates numerous separate fires.  Fire-produced scars on Mexican pinyon occurred in intervals from 9 to 60 or more years [42].  Naturally caused fires were probably less frequent and greater in size and severity before the settlement of this area than in more recent times [15]. No fire ecology information on gray oak was found in the literature. The shrubby growth form of gray oak, which produces numerous ramets, may sprout after being top-killed by fire.  Oaks generally survive low-intensity, fast fires.  Fires that occur in closed-canopy oak woodlands are probably high-intensity, stand replacement fires [39]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/soboliferous species root sucker    Tall shrub, adventitious-bud root crown    Secondary colonizer - off-site seed

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Quercus grisea
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Gray oak is probably top-killed by fire.  Surviving individuals with a shrubby growth form may sprout.  Sprouting information on gray oak with a single trunk was not found in the literature.  However, McPherson [39] asserts that all of the oaks of Arizona, which include gray oak, sprout prolifically following top-kill by fire.  The acorns probably are killed by fire.  Acorns covered by an insulating layer of soil may survive low-severity fires. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : The response of gray oak to fire was not found in the literature.  If surviving gray oak sprout following the removal of top-growth, gray oak may reestablish dominance relatively quickly.  Site factors will influence the length of time required to achieve prefire crown cover. If establishment depends on off-site seed, rates of recovery will vary depending upon the proximity of seed trees and on animal facilitation and seed predation. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : The build-up of surface fuels is slow in the low productivity pinyon-juniper savannas where gray oak occurs in Big Bend National Park, Texas [42].  Fine fuels in pine-oak woodlands in the Park are mainly grasses; grass fires leave trees intact.  On mesic Park sites in the pine-oak woodland, low-growing gray oak and other shrubs rarely carry a fire unless it crowns out [15]. A downed woody material summary is useful for assessing fire potential and danger.  Downed woody material ranged from 2.8 to 9.2 cubic feet per acre in pine-oak woodlands and from 40.1 to 81.7 cubic feet per acre in moist woodlands [15].

References for species: Quercus grisea


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