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Kansas Forest Service

Kansas Forest Service
2610 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66502

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Black Oak

bald  cypressNative Range
Quercus velutina, or Black oak, is native to Kansas.Mature Size 

Mature Size 
Black oak reaches 50 to 60 feet in height. 

Growth Rate
It has an open crown and tall, straight trunk.It is commonly considered slow growing, however, on a fertile site with adequate moisture, after a couple of years establishing its roots, it can grow two to three feet a year. Its extensive tap root makes is tolerant to some drought.

Leaves, Stems and Fruit

The leaves are simple and alternately arranged on the twigs. They are 5 to 10 inches long and 3 to 8 inches wide with the broadest portion toward the middle of the leaf. Usually, there are 5 to 7 bristle-tipped lobes separated by deep indentations with the top surface being darker green than the fuzzy underside. Young twigs are reddish brown and hairy but smooth with age. Flowers appear in April or May with both male and female flowers borne on the same tree. Fruit is a reddish-brown oval shaped acorn enclosed 1/2 or more by a large fringed cup. The bark of older trees is dark and rough

Windbreaks - Because of its large size and long-lived qualities, black oak is an excellent choice in a multi-row windbreak. It is, however, relatively slow-growing and does not tolerate shaded conditions, therefore, it should not be planted adjacent to fast-growing species which might over top it without adequate space between species.

Timber - Black oak is produced in other states for rough lumber products. The wood is heavy, hard, strong and durable. Some uses include flooring, pallets, railroad ties and bridge timbers.

Wildlife - Acorns constitute a good staple food for a variety of birds and animals. Woodpeckers, jays, flickers, squirrels, whitetail deer and game birds such as wild turkey and wood duck are important species that consume the acorns.

Adaptation and Soil
Black oak is native statewide and grows best on deep fertile, well-drained soils but will grow on many types of upland and bottomland soils.

It is normally spaced 10 to 18 feet within the row. Space the rows 20 to 24 feet from adjacent trees or shrubs to prevent the oak from over-growing smaller plants or to prevent fast growing plants from overgrowing the oak. In a timber planting, bur oak can be planted in 10 x 10 feet to 15 x 15 feet spacing.

One-year-old, bare-root seedlings, 12 to 18 inches tall are used in plantings. Survival is generally good. Initial growth is centered around root development. Two to three years after planting, top growth should average 8 to 12 inches annually with good weed and grass control; growth may reach 40 inches annually with adequate moisture.

Black oak is very hearty and disease resistant. Few known major insect or disease problems exist.

Soil Information
Average Height in 20 Yrs: 
-Eastern26-30 ft.
-CentralNot Suitable
-WesternNot Suitable
Growth Rate:Medium
Native Species:Native to Kansas
Windbreak Value:Medium
Wildlife Value:High
Lumber Products:Yes
Fuelwood Products:Yes
Drought Tolerance:Medium
Soil Saturation:Low Tolerance
Salinity Tolerance:No Tolerance
pH Range:4.5-6.8