water oak
Quercus nigra

Water oak is common along waterways and adjacent lowlands in the U.S. southeast. Water oak plays a valuable role in wetland ecosystems, providing both wildlife benefits and quality wood products.

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Light Fall Color Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Water oak is used for lumber, veneer for plywood used in making fruit and vegetable boxes, and fuelwood.


Wildlife Value
      Water oak provides food, cover, and habitat for a variety of species. Cavity nesting birds, e.g., red bellied woodpecker, great crested flycatcher, hairy woodpecker, use water oak snags to nest in.
          Attracts: squirrels, flying-squirrels, chipmunks, waterfowl, bluejay, turkey, bobwhite, deer

Regeneration methods
      Water oak is shade intolerant and is best regenerated by clearcutting.

Important Problems Early Detection tips
nutria ripped-out and chewed-up seedlings

Fun facts
When young, water oak leaves are nearly evergreen; leaves of mature individuals persist long into the winter. Water oak is a principal alternate host to the fusiform rust fungus that debilitates pines; it is only minorly affected by the rust itself.
Quercus: Latin name / nigra: black
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2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.

questions, comments, and criticisms: email John.Peterson@vt.edu