Botanical Name: Quercus velutina
Common Name: black oak
Native Range: Eastern United States, southeastern Canada
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 50 to 60 feet
Spread: 50 to 60 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellowish-green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree
Leaf: Good Fall
Habit: Large, deciduous oak of the red oak group that typically grows 50-60’ tall with a globular, spreading crown. Is primarily native to upland hills, slopes and ridges from Florida to Texas north to Maine, Ontario, Michigan and Minnesota. Similar in appearance to red oak (Quercus rubra) with which it will hybridize. Buds are a significant difference between the two trees (hairless and smaller in red oak). Bark is almost black on mature trunks with deep furrows. Inner bark is yellow to orange. Trunk matures to 3’ in diameter. Leathery, shiny, dark green leaves to 10” long have 7-9 deeply cut lobes (each with 1-3 bristle tipped teeth). Leaves turn yellow to yellow-brown to dull red in fall. Terminal buds are covered with a dense, gray pubescence. Insignificant monoecious yellowish-green flowers in separate male and female catkins appear in spring as the leaves emerge. Elliptic acorns 3/4” long have saucer-shaped acorn cups that cover up to 1/2 of the acorn. On mature trees, large crops of acorns usually appear every 2 to 3 years. Acorns are an important food source for wildlife (e.g., deer, squirrels, small rodents, turkeys, grouse, jays and other birds).
Culture: Easily grown in average, neutral to acidic, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers moist, organically rich, well-drained soils, but tolerates poor dry soils. Difficult to transplant because of deep taproot on young trees.
Problems: Infrequently attacked by the common diseases of oaks which include oak wilt, chestnut blight, shoestring root rot, anthracnose, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, galls, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils.
Notes: Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for oak trees meaning velvety or hairy in reference to the fine hairs found on buds and young leaves. Common name is in reference to bark color.