Index of Species Information
SPECIES: Quercus velutina
SPECIES: Quercus velutina
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION :
Carey, Jennifer H. 1992. Quercus velutina. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station,
Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available:
Quercus velutina var. missouriensis Sarg.
Quercus leiodermis Ashe
SCS PLANT CODE :
COMMON NAMES :
yellow butt oak
The currently accepted scientific name of black oak is Quercus velutina
Lam. . 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
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 . 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 . Voss  suggests that these may be hybrids
between black oak and northern red oak (Q. rubra) or scarlet oak (Q.
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
LIFE FORM :
FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS :
No special status
OTHER STATUS :
DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE
SPECIES: Quercus velutina
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION :
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 .
FRES10 White - red - jack pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES18 Maple - beech - birch
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
BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :
14 Great Plains
KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :
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
SAF COVER TYPES :
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
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
SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES :
HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES :
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
Deciduous forest 
Classification of forest ecosystems in Michigan 
The natural communities of South Carolina 
A classification of the deciduous forest of eastern North America 
Forest vegetation of the lower Alabama Piedmont 
Old-growth forests within the Piedmont of South Carolina 
Plant communities of the Coastal Plains of North Carolina and their
successional relations 
Ecological species groups of oak ecosystems of southeastern Michigan 
Presettlement vegetation of Lake County, Indiana 
SPECIES: Quercus velutina
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 .
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 .
Black oak has a high cavity value for wildlife . 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 .
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 .
COVER VALUE :
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 . Minor amounts of black oak were
planted on Indiana surface mines between 1928 and 1975 , but its
success on these sites has not been documented in the literature.
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 .
OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
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 . 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
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 . 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 .
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 .
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
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 .
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 .
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 . Based on site factors, a general stand classification
of mortality risk from oak decline has been developed .
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 .
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)
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 .
BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS
SPECIES: Quercus velutina
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS :
Black oak is a medium- to large-sized, native, deciduous tree with an
irregularly rounded crown . In a forest, the trunk is usually
branch-free for half the height of the tree . 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. .
Black oak has a deep taproot and deep and widespreading lateral roots
RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :
REGENERATION PROCESSES :
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 .
Germination is hypogeal. Burial in or contact with mineral soil and
coverage with a light layer of leaves are favorable conditions for acorn
germination . 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 .
Seedling growth is slow; average annual height growth of seedlings in
Missouri during a 6-year period was 2.1 inches (5.3 cm) . Seedlings
can survive drought conditions .
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 .
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 .
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 . 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) . Generally, the bigger the old
stem is, the faster the height growth of its sprouts .
SITE CHARACTERISTICS :
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 .
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 . Black oak does not occur on
the serpentine soils of the Maryland Piedmont . 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
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 .
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
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) .
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) .
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. .
Herbaceous plants associated with black oak in sand savannas include
little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Pennsylvania sedge (Carex
pensylvanica), and Coreopsis spp. .
SUCCESSIONAL STATUS :
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 . 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 .
Black oaks woodlands began invading savannas in Northern Illinois 2 to 3
years after the construction of roads which acted as functional
firebreaks . In the past, the high presettlement fire frequency in
grasslands prevented black oak expansion 
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 .
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 .
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 .
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 .
Succession is slow or unlikely in some oak forests on extremely xeric or
nutrient poor sites . 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 .
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
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 .
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT :
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 .
SPECIES: Quercus velutina
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS :
Black oak is moderately resistant to fire . Small black oaks are
easily top-killed by fire but sprout vigorously from the root crown
. Larger black oaks can withstand low-severity surface fire because
of moderately thick basal bark. They are susceptible to basal wounding
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 . Fire
provides opportunity for establishment of the more fire-resistant oak
species such as black oak . Black oak is characteristic as a
community dominant only where major disturbances periodically open the
canopy . 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
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 .
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 . 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 .
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
FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find Fire Regimes".
POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :
Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/root sucker
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE :
SPECIES: Quercus velutina
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT :
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 .
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 .
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
(<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 .
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 .
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 .
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT :
PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE :
Black oak individuals, including seedlings, sprout from the root crown
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) . Sprouting of top-killed black oak in
prescribed fires in the Indiana Dune National Lakeshore also increased
the shrub coverage of black oak .
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 .
Black oak acorns in the litter may survive a low-severity fire , but
no conclusive evidence of this was found in the literature.
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
FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
Prescribed fire is used to control oak invasion of prairies .
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 .
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. ]. Equations have also been developed to
predict lumber value losses due to fire wounding of black oak .
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 .
References for species: Quercus velutina
1. Abrams, Marc D. 1992. Fire and the development of oak forests. BioScience. 42(5): 346-353. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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