Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Quercus oblongifolia


Introductory

SPECIES: Quercus oblongifolia
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Pavek, Diane S. 1993. Quercus oblongifolia. 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 : QUEOBL SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : QUOB COMMON NAMES : Mexican blue oak blue oak white oak TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of Mexican blue oak is Quercus oblongifolia Torr. It is a member of the beech family (Fagaceae) [22,37]. There are no recognized infrataxa. LIFE FORM : Tree, Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Quercus oblongifolia
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Mexican blue oak is found from the Santa Catalina Mountains of southeastern Arizona into the southwestern corner of New Mexico [7,12,22,27,37]. It occurs infrequently in western Texas [35]. Scattered populations are found from Coahuila westward to Baja California Sur, Mexico [27,44,46]. ECOSYSTEMS : 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 : K019 Arizona pine forest K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K031 Oak - juniper woodlands K032 Transition between K031 and K037 K059 Trans-Pecos shrub savanna SAF COVER TYPES : 66 Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper 235 Cottonwood - willow 237 Interior ponderosa pine 239 Pinyon - juniper 240 Arizona cypress 241 Western live oak 242 Mesquite SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Mexican blue oak is dominant in pure or mixed stands in lower elevation (less than 5,200 feet [1,585 m]), open, evergreen oak woodlands. In encinal communities Arizona white oak (Quercus arizonica) and Emory oak (Q. emoryi) are codominant with Mexican blue oak and replace it at higher elevations [8,24,28,32,45]. The Mexican blue oak habitat series is transitional into semidesert grasslands. Juniper (Juniperus spp.) and pinyon (Pinus spp.) occur occasionally in communities where Mexican blue oak is dominant [5,24,32]. Mexican blue oak is a climax understory species in the Chihuahua pine (Pinus leiophylla var. chihuahuana) series [24]. In the mesic canyons of the southern Trans-Pecos area of Texas, Mexican blue oak is a characteristic member of the gray oak (Quercus grisea) series [41]. Mexican blue oak is listed as a dominant or indicator species in the following publications: (1) Forest and woodland habitat types (plant associations) of Arizona south of the Mogollon Rim and southwestern New Mexico [3] (2) Preliminary classification for the coniferous forest and woodland series of Arizona and New Mexico [24] (3) Vegetation of the Santa Catalina Mountains: community types and dynamics [33] (4) Riparian forest and scrubland community types of Arizona and New Mexico [40] (5) Plant communites of Texas (Series level) [41]. Species associated with Mexican blue oak that were not previously mentioned in the Distribution and Occurrence information are Arizona rosewood (Vauquelinia californica), shrubby buckwheat (Eriogonum wrightii), catclaw mimosa (Mimosa biuncifera), bullgrass (Muhlenbergia emersleyi), plains lovegrass (Eragrostis intermedia), fendlerbush (Fendlera rupicola), and wolftail (Lycurus pheleoides) [2,3,5,17].

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Quercus oblongifolia
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : Mexican blue oak has hard, strong wood that is brittle and heavy [26,44]. The wood checks severely when drying [6]. It is used in small amounts for fuel and furniture production [20]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Mexican blue oak provides food and cover for livestock and wildlife. It is browsed by white-tailed and mule deer [1,38]. In the Pusch Ridge Wilderness, Arizona, Mexican blue oak is a major browse species for bighorn sheep [29]. Acorns are consumed by cattle and wildlife such as deer, collared peccary, squirrels, and other rodents [12,21,30]. Numerous amphibians and reptiles use the communities in which Mexican blue oak occurs [28]. PALATABILITY : Mexican blue oak leaves are highly palatable yearlong to white-tailed and mule deer [43]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : The habitat in which Mexican blue oak is dominant provides important cover for mule deer [2]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : On the lower slopes of Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona, Mexican blue oak is codominant with Emory oak in a mixed oak woodland. In this community ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) has very low primary productivity per year (5.7 mg/ha/yr) [18]. These woodlands are noncommercial and have low net primary productivity [19]. Biomass and volume equations have been developed for Mexican blue oak stand assessments [10,11,14]. In open oak woodlands or savannas where Mexican blue oak occurs, oak establishment should increase if grasses are preferentially consumed by livestock [31]. In Arizona riparian woodlands at lower elevations, Mexican blue oak has about 10 to 20 percent canopy cover [33]. At elevations where it is a community dominant, Mexican blue oak has a density of 9.3 stems per acre (23 stems/ha) and frequency of 21 percent. At higher elevations it has densities of 1.2 to 2.8 (rarely 8) stems per acre (3-7 [rarely 20] stems/ha) and frequency of 9 percent [31]. Mexican blue oak is susceptible to the wood-decay fungus Inonotus andersonii. In the beginning stages of infection rotted branches drop off, creating cavities which provide habitat for cavity nesting birds and other wildlife. Advanced decay results in the death of older trees [48].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Quercus oblongifolia
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Mexican blue oak is a native, evergreen, small tree that grows 16 to 26 feet (5-8 m) tall and 1.5 feet (0.5 m) in diameter with a broadly spreading crown [12,22,26,37]. At higher elevations, its habit is a shrub [22,26]. The bark is about 1.2 inches (3 cm) thick [6]. The leaves are oblong and small, 1 to 2 inches (2.2-5 cm) long, with entire margins [12,26]. Mexican blue oak has solitary or paired pistillate flowers; the numerous staminate flowers are in catkins [22,44]. Acorns are 0.5 to 0.7 inch (1.2-1.8 cm) long [12,37,44]. The acorn shell is very thin and surrounds one seed [6]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Asexual reproduction: Mexican blue oak sprouts abundantly after the stem is killed [33]. Sexual reproduction: No information on Mexican blue oak acorn production or germination was found in the literature. Information is available for two oak species, Arizona white oak and Emory oak, that often occur with and may be representative of Mexican blue oak. Annual acorn production is highly variable for these two species: 0 to 60 percent of the trees may produce acorns during a growing season. These oaks have no seed dormancy. Most germination occurs within 30 days after the acorns drop. Buried acorns germinate more successfully than acorns lying on the soil surface. Vertebrates and invertebrates may consume from 30 to 75 percent of the acorns produced [31]. Reproductive rates vary among Mexican blue oak populations. In riparian canyons in the encinal region of the Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona, a Mexican blue oak population exhibited good reproduction with size classes from seedlings through 23.6 to 35.4 inches (60-90 cm) d.b.h. present [33]. In a remnant oak woodland in the San Cayetano Mountains of Arizona, Mexican blue oak populations were declining. No Mexican blue oak seedlings were found, and reproduction was poor. Of the trees examined, 94 percent were in older age classes and were greater than 7.9 feet (2.4 m) tall [2]. Growth rates of southwestern oak species are usually slow [31]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Mexican blue oak is common in foothills, mountains, and canyons from the upper edge of desert grasslands extending up to pine woodlands [7,26,33,35]. It occurs from 4,000 to 6,000 feet (1,219-1,829 m) in elevation [7,12,44]. At lower elevations from 2,625 to 3,281 feet (800-1,000 m), Mexican blue oak fingers into riparian communities [33,40]. Mexican blue oak occurs in semiarid to arid climates with biseasonal rainfall [31,33,45]. It is found on soils that are often thin, sandy, rocky, and poorly developed [15,25,31]. Mexican blue oak may grow on soils derived from granitic parent materials or mixed alluvium-colluvium [3,33]. It occurs on 15 to 80 percent slopes of all aspects, depending on moisture availability [2,3]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Obligate Climax Species Mexican blue oak is a dominant climax species in lower, open oak woodlands [3,24,33]. It is a climax understory species in pine and pinyon-juniper communities [24,34]. Mexican blue oak occasionally occurs in climax riparian communities [40]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Mexican blue oak flowers from March to May as the leaves emerge [6, 12,46]. Fruits mature the autumn after flowering [12]. Leaves persist during winter and drop in spring when the new leaves open [6].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Quercus oblongifolia
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Mexican blue oak is generally top-killed by fire; surviving Mexican blue oak sprouts [31]. Oaks generally survive low intensity, fast fires [31]. Mexican blue oak may also survive high intensity fires of short duration [9,31]. Fires that occur in closed-canopy oak woodlands are probably high intensity, stand replacement fires [31]. Prior to settlement, fire return intervals may have been from 10 to 20 years. Currently, fire return intervals are longer due to overgrazing and fire suppression [47]. 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 oblongifolia
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Mexican blue oak is top-killed by fire. Surviving individuals sprout prolifically [31]. The thin shelled acorns probably are killed by fire. Acorns covered by an insulating layer of soil may survive a low-severity fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Data from 1963 recorded that Mexican blue oak had sprouted abundantly after stems were killed by a fire in southeastern Arizona [33]. The year the fire occurred was not mentioned by the authors. In 1983, a wildfire swept through a Madrean evergreen oak woodland with grass understory in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona. Burned and unburned plots were compared 2 years later. Most Mexican blue oak of large (greater than 30 cm) size classes survived; only 14.2 percent died. Significantly (P=0.011) more individuals produced sprouts in the burned plots (94 percent) compared to the unburned plots (8 to 16 percent) [9]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Prescribed burning in Mexican blue oak woodlands may promote sprouting for wildlife browse. The open Mexican blue oak woodlands accumulate dead material slowly and probably would not support frequent (less than 25 years) prescribed fires.

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Quercus oblongifolia
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Effects of fire on wildlife in southwestern lowland habitats. In: Krammes, J. S., technical coordinator. Effects of fire management of Southwestern natural resources: Proceedings of the symposium; 1988 November 15-17; Tucson, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-191. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 50-64. [11273] 6. Britton, N. L.; Shafer, J. A. 1908. North American trees. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 894 p. [20918] 7. Brown, David E. 1982. Madrean evergreen woodland. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 59-65. [8886] 8. Brown, David E.; Lowe, Charles H. 1974. A digitized computer-compatible classification for natural and potential vegetation in the Southwest with particular reference to Arizona. Journal of the Arizona Academy of Science. 9: 3-11. [20374] 9. Caprio, Anthony C.; Zwolinski, Malcolm J. 1992. 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Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 13 p. 290 maps. [10430] 28. Lowe, Charles H.; Holm, Peter A. 1991. The amphibians and reptiles at Saguaro National Monument, Arizona. Technical Report No. 37. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, School of Renewable Natural Resources, Cooperative National Park Resources Study Unit. 20 p. [18335] 29. Mazaika, Rosemary; Krausman, Paul R.; Etchberger, Richard C. 1992. Forage availability for mountain sheep in Pusch Ridge Wilderness, Arizona. Southwestern Naturalist. 37(4): 372-378. [20349] 30. McClaran, Mitchel P.; Allen, Larry S.; Ruyle, George B. 1992. Livestock production and grazing management in the encinal oak woodlands of Arizona. In: Ffolliott, Peter F.; Gottfried, Gerald J.; Bennett, Duane A.; [and others], technical coordinators. Ecology and management of oak and associated woodlands: perspectives in the sw United States & n Mexico: Proceedings; 1992 April 27-30; Sierra Vista, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-218. 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