Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Quercus marilandica


SPECIES: Quercus marilandica
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Carey, Jennifer H. 1992. Quercus marilandica. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : QUEMAR SYNONYMS : Quercus neoashei Bush SCS PLANT CODE : QUMA3 COMMON NAMES : blackjack oak black jack oak black oak jack oak scrub oak barren oak TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of blackjack oak is Quercus marilandica Muenchh. [28]. Blackjack oak has been placed within the subgenus Erythrobalanus, or red (black) oak group [49]. There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms. Blackjack oak hybridizes with the following species [28]: x Q. falcata (southern red oak) x Q. geogiana (Georgia oak): Q. X smallii Trel. x Q. ilicifolia (bear oak): Q. X brittonii W. T. Davis x Q. imbricaria (shingle oak): Q. X tridentata (A. DC.) Engelm. x Q. incana (bluejack oak): Q. X cravenensis Little x Q. nigra (water oak): Q. X sterilis Trel. x Q. phellos (willow oak): Q. X rudkinii Britton x Q. rubra (northern red oak) x Q. shumardii (Shumard oak): Q. X hastingsii Sarg. x Q. velutina (black oak): Q. X bushii Sarg. x Q. laurifolia (laurel oak): Q. X diversiloba Tharp ex A. Camus LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Quercus marilandica
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Blackjack oak occurs in the central and eastern United States from Long Island, New York, New Jersey, and southeastern Pennsylvania; south to northwestern Florida; west to central Texas, western Oklahoma and eastern Kansas; and north to southern Iowa, central Illinois, southern Indiana, and southern Ohio [27,28]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES12  Longleaf - slash pine    FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine    FRES14  Oak - pine    FRES15  Oak - hickory    FRES32  Texas savanna    FRES39  Prairie STATES :      AL  AR  DE  FL  GA  IL  IN  IA  KS  KY      LA  MD  MS  MO  NJ  NY  NC  OH  OK  PA      SC  TN  TX  VA  WV BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :    14  Great Plains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K082  Mosaic of K074 and K100    K083  Cedar glades    K084  Cross Timbers    K086  Juniper - oak savanna    K087  Mesquite - oak savanna    K089  Black Belt    K100  Oak - hickory forest    K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest    K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest    K112  Southern mixed forest SAF COVER TYPES :     40  Post oak - blackjack oak     43  Bear oak     45  Pitch pine     46  Eastern redcedar     52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak     66  Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper     68  Mesquite     70  Longleaf pine     71  Longleaf pine - scrub oak     72  Southern scrub oak     75  Shortleaf pine     76  Shortleaf pine - oak     78  Virginia pine - oak     79  Virginia pine     81  Loblolly pine     83  Longleaf pine - slash pine     84  Slash pine    110  Black oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Blackjack oak occurs as a dominant tree in savannas and in forests adjacent to grasslands.  It forms mixed stands with post oak (Quercus stellata) in the prairie transition area of central Oklahoma and Texas, where the eastern deciduous forests grade into the drier western grasslands [23,47]. Blackjack oak shares dominance with bluejack oak and sand post oak (Q. stellata var. margaretta) on the slightly more mesic midslopes of sandhills, downslope from the xeric ridges that support turkey oak (Q. laevis) [11]. The Pine Plains of New Jersey are characterized by a community of dwarfed blackjack oak, bear oak, and pitch pine (Pinus rigida) [33]. The following published classifications list blackjack oak as a dominant or codominant species: Eastern deciduous forest [55] The natural communities of South Carolina [36] Forest vegetation of the lower Alabama Piedmont [20] Forest vegetation of the Big thicket, southeast Texas [32] The natural forests of Maryland:  an explanation of the vegetation map     of Maryland [7]


SPECIES: Quercus marilandica
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : Blackjack oak is not a preferred timber species [48].  The wood is hard, heavy, and strong with a wide, light sapwood.  It is used mainly for fence posts, railroad ties, and fuel [50]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Blackjack oak provides cover and habitat, and acorns are an important food source for mammals and birds [50]. PALATABILITY : Among 12 southeastern oak species, blackjack oak acorns ranked fourth in preference to the fox squirrel [38]. Blackjack oak browse is unpalatable [5]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Blackjack oak acorns are generally high in fat and low in protein. Percent nutrient values compiled by Reid and Goodrum [45] from the literature are given below: location      protein     fat        crude fiber   calcium    phosphorus Texas         8.07        26.41      11.55 Louisiana     5.1          5.6       22.8 Mississippi   6.29        10.66      20.94          0.37      0.09 Missouri      5.75        17.73      21.79          0.36      0.09         COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Blackjack oak is probably susceptible to most insects and diseases that attack eastern oak species.  Twolined chestnut borer (Agrilus bilineatus) and the canker fungus, Hypoxylon atropunctatum, have been associated with dead blackjack oaks [21]. Hardwood competition in pine plantations and hardwood expansion into grasslands are often controlled with herbicides.  Tebuthiuron and triclopyr are effective in killing blackjack oak in grasslands of the Cross Timbers area of Oklahoma [52].  Velpar L, Garlon 3A, and Krenite were tested on blackjack oak that ranged between 4 and 9 inches (10.1-22.9 cm) in d.b.h.  Velpar L was effective at killing blackjack oak at all injection spacings (3, 5, and 7 inches [7.6, 12.7, and 17.8 cm]) in both May and December.  Garlon 3A was effective only in May at all spacings, and Krenite was effective only at the 3-inch (7.6 cm) spacing in May [10]. Blackjack oak expands into prairies where heavy cattle grazing has reduced the grass fuel load.  Fires, which usually prevent blackjack oak expansion, are cooler because of the reduced fuel load and not as effective at killing woody species [23].


SPECIES: Quercus marilandica
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Blackjack oak is a small to medium-sized, slow-growing, native, deciduous tree.  It is often shrubby with a low, rounded crown.  The contorted, down-sweeping branches remain on the tree several years after they die [46].  Leaves are tenacious after having turned brown, often clinging to the tree throughout the winter [50].  The acorns are about 0.4 inches (1 cm) long [41].  On poor xeric sites or in drier climates, blackjack oak is rarely taller than 30 feet (9 m) [49,50].  On better sites, it grows 45 to 50 feet (14-15 m) in height [15,49].  Blackjack oak has lived to be as old as 230 years in Oklahoma [23]. Dwarfed forms of blackjack oak exist on Buzzard's Roost, Missouri, and in the Pine Plains of New Jersey.  In Missouri, the trees are extremely stunted (4.5 feet [1.4 m] tall), leaves and acorns are miniature, and there is rosetting of the leaves [44].  In the New Jersey Pine Plains, the dwarfed blackjack oaks are multistemmed with large, irregularly shaped stools that are considerably older than the current stems.  The height is usually less than 11 feet (3.4 m) [33].  Blackjack oak in the Pine Plains exhibit rosetting of leaves and buds in stems roughly 10 years old or older [58]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :       Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Sexual:  Blackjack oak is monoecious [50].  It bears seeds at a younger age than many associated arborescent oaks.  In a study in West Virginia, acorn crops of blackjack oaks that averaged 0.87 inch (2.2 cm) d.b.h. failed 2 out of 4 years [39]. Dissemination is by gravity and animals.  Germination is hypogeal. Blackjack oak grows more slowly than many associated trees, including post oak [51].  Average annual height growth of seedlings in Missouri during a 6-year period was 1.7 inches (4.3 cm) [26]. Excessive soil moisture and inundation cause severe stress and often high mortality of blackjack oak seedlings [9]. Vegetative:  If top-killed or cut, blackjack oak sprouts vigorously from the root crown [59].  Sprouts grow faster than seedlings.  Average annual height growth of sprouts in Missouri during a 6-year period was 4.4 inches (11.2 cm) [26].  Root crown sprouts as young as 3 to 4 years old can produce mature acorns [30]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : A semixeric species, blackjack oak is found on xeric sand deposits and on extremely dry upper slopes and ridges [56].  It generally occurs on southerly or westerly aspects [34].  Blackjack oak is found to about 2,500 feet (760 m) in the Appalachian Mountains [16,57]. Blackjack oak typically occurs on dry, nutrient-poor soils [12].  Soils are sandy, gravelly, or clayey, and may contain a fragipan subhorizon [7,49].  Blackjack oak usually occurs in sand only if it is heavily impregnated with clay or shallowly overlies clay [35].  In the Piedmont, blackjack oak occurs on serpentine soils which are typically eroded, shallow, and stony [7,22].  The stunted condition of blackjack oaks in a plant community on Buzzard's Roost in Missouri [see General Botanical Characteristics] is thought to be caused by the poor soil conditions which include low pH, very low calcium and magnesium, and high aluminum [44]. Blackjack oak occurs on sites too dry for southern red oak, northern red oak, or white oak (Quercus alba) [37,44].  It often survives on more xeric sites than post oak [14].  In Oklahoma, blackjack oak seedlings occupied the xeric end of the moisture gradient, whereas on more mesic sites, blackjack oak, post oak, and eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) seedlings codominated the seedling layer [13].  However, during a severe drought in Oklahoma, there was higher mortality of mature blackjack oak than post oak [46].  The dominance of blackjack oak on less favorable sites may be due to its tolerance of soil infertility rather than to its drought tolerance [23,46]. Overstory associates not mentioned in Distribution and Occurrence include pignut hickory (Carya glabra), black hickory (C. texana), mockernut hickory (C. tomentosa), scarlet oak (Q. coccinea), shingle oak, winged elm (Ulmus alata), blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), and sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum).  Understory associates include blueberry (Vaccinium spp.), huckleberry (Gaylussacia spp.), mountain-laurel (Kalmia latifolia), sumac (Rhus spp.), and hawthorn (Crataegus spp.). Herbaceous plant associates include bluestems (Andropogon spp.), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and sedges (Carex spp.) [7,16,58]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Blackjack oak is shade intolerant [15].  Because of slow growth, it is probably overtopped by other species, including most oaks.  It probably persists and becomes dominant on sites too poor for faster growing species. Blackjack oak is common in the understory of pine (Pinus spp.)-hardwood forests.  In the absence of fire, blackjack oak may become dominant depending on site conditions and competition from associated species [17].  In upland longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) savannas and longleaf pine sandhills in the west Gulf Coastal Plain, blackjack oak, along with post oak, bluejack oak, and black hickory, become dominant and eventually replace longleaf pine [6]. Blackjack oak, along with post oak, will expand into adjacent prairies in the absence of fire [17].  The post oak-blackjack oak association may be an edaphic climax on dry sites [16].  Because of its longevity, blackjack oak may be found as a dominant in climax oak-hickory forests [46]. In a study in central Illinois, dry sandy sites were dominated by blackjack oak and black oak.  The two species also dominated the seedling and sapling layers.  However, an influx of shade tolerant, mesophytic species such as American elm (Ulmus americana) and hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) in the seedling strata suggest that at least a partial takeover is likely in the continued absence of fire.  The xeric nature of the site will probably prevent complete takeover [1]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Blackjack oak flowers from March to May depending on latitude and elevation.  Acorns ripen from September to November of the second growing season after flowering, drop in the fall, and germinate in the spring [15,41,50].


SPECIES: Quercus marilandica
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Blackjack oak is nearly as fire tolerant as turkey oak [43] and more fire tolerant than post oak and black oak [19].  Smaller blackjack oaks are easily top-killed by fire, but sprout vigorously from the root crown [59]. Recurring fires at 6- to 8-year intervals in the Pine Plains of New Jersey have produced and maintained a dwarfed community of pitch pine, blackjack oak, and bear oak [19,33].  Most arborescent oak species are restricted from the Pine Plains because they do not bear viable seed at a young enough age to reproduce effectively at this high fire frequency. Blackjack oak tolerates these frequent fires by sprouting vigorously after being top-killed and by producing viable seed on the sprouts in 3 to 4 years [29,30]. In xeric sandhill communities of blackjack oak, post oak, and bluejack oak, grass and other fuels are rare and fires only occasional.  When fires do reach these communities, these oaks may be top-killed, but they sprout from the root crown and the community is maintained [56]. Under a normal fire regime (fire occurring every few years), a savanna is maintained because grass grows back faster than the woody sprouts after a hot fire.  In the absence of fire, blackjack oak spreads and the grass dies back [23]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/root sucker


SPECIES: Quercus marilandica
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : In general, low-severity fires top-kill small blackjack oaks, and more severe fires top-kill larger trees and may kill rootstocks as well.  In the New Jersey Pine Plains, where flame heights are high enough to ignite and sustain a crown fire, nearly all stems smaller than 9.8 to 13 feet (3-4 m) tall are top-killed [58]. Acorns on the ground surface are usually killed by surface fires [11]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : Blackjack oak associated with eastern redcedar is more likely to be top-killed by fire because eastern redcedar is highly flammable and fires tend to be hot.  A severe fire in a post oak-eastern redcedar community in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma top-killed 92 percent of all trees (post oak, blackjack oak, and eastern redcedar) greater than 3 inches (7.6 cm) in d.b.h.; only 13.5 percent of the top-killed blackjack oaks and post oaks sprouted.  In the adjacent post oak-blackjack oak forest, only 66 percent of trees greater than 3 inches (7.6 cm) were top-killed by the fire, and 70 percent of these sprouted [40]. There is disagreement in the literature as to whether blackjack oak is more susceptible to fire in a savanna or in a forest.  A March fire in a central Oklahoma oak savanna top-killed most oaks smaller than 1.6 inches (4 cm) in d.b.h. and top-killed or severely damaged some trees up to 3.5 inches (9 cm) in d.b.h.  In the adjacent post oak-blackjack oak forest, however, few woody stems larger than 1 inch (2.5 cm) in d.b.h. were top-killed.  In the savanna, all litter was consumed, whereas only 45 percent of the litter in the adjacent forest burned.  The authors suggest that lack of grass under a closed-canopy forest results in a much cooler fire [23]. However, an investigation of the effects of a prescribed fire in March in a savanna and adjacent blackjack oak-black hickory forest in central Illinois showed the opposite effect:  savanna blackjack oaks were less affected by fire than blackjack oaks in the adjacent closed-canopy forest.  Patterns of fuel consumption around isolated mature blackjack oaks in the savanna showed that fire never reached the base of the trees.  A few trees had slightly scorched lower branches, but all trees survived the fire.  In the closed-canopy forest, mortality of trees [stems larger than 3.5 inches (9 cm) in d.b.h.] was high.  Three years after the fire, the density of blackjack oak had decreased from a prefire density of 179 trees per acre (443 trees/ha) to 74 trees per acre (183 trees/ha).  In essence, the fire converted the closed-canopy forest to an open-canopy forest.  Seventy-five percent of top-killed trees had basal sprouts 1 year after the fire [2]. The difference in fire effects on blackjack oak in the Illinois savanna and forest was attributed to the difference in fuel load.  Estimated average fuel load was 2.5 ounces per square foot (840 g/m sq) in the savanna and 8.0 ounces per square foot (2,671 g/m sq) in the forest.  In the savanna, fuel load was further reduced under mature blackjack oaks because grass growth was less in the shade created by the down-sweeping branches, and the wind removed excess leaf litter.  In the closed-canopy forest, understory fuels built up over time [3]. The results of these two studies indicate that the effect of fire on blackjack oak is dependent on surface fuel load. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : If top-killed by fire, blackjack oak sprouts vigorously from the root crown [59].  Because of sprouting, fire tends to increase the number of understory blackjack oak stems.  Eight annual fires in Tennessee resulted in 470 stems per acre (1160 stems/ha) compared to 20 stems per acre (49 stems/ha) in the control.  Two periodic fires separated by 5 years resulted in 70 stems per acre (173 stems/ha) [53]. Frequent fire in the Pine Plains of New Jersey has resulted in multistemmed blackjack oaks.  Two months after a May wildfire, there were to 3,949 genetically defined blackjack oak and bear oak individuals per acre (9,750 genets/ha) and 50,422 sprouts per acre (124,500 sprouts/ha).  Oaks averaged 13 sprouts per root crown [8]. In a study in Oklahoma, blackjack oak seedlings were more prevalent in recently burned areas, suggesting blackjack oak seedlings may increase after fire.  The authors did not speculate on whether the acorns were buried on-site before the fire or were disseminated postfire by off-site sources [13].
The Research Project Summary Early postfire response of southern Appalachian
Table Mountain-pitch pine stands to prescribed fires in North Carolina and
provides information on prescribed fire use and postfire response
of plant community species, including blackjack oak, that was not available
when this species review was originally written.
Many present-day post oak-blackjack oak stands were former savannas.  In
the Wichita Forest Reserve in Oklahoma, the average age of stands
coincides with the advent of fire suppression in the reserve [13].
Forests may or may not revert back to savannas with prescribed burning
Prescribed fire, in conjunction with herbicides, may be
effective at eliminating blackjack oak [52].  Prescribed fire in 4-year
rotations may be effective at preventing blackjack oak expansion into
prairies [59].


SPECIES: Quercus marilandica
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