Landowner Fact Sheets

black oak Quercus velutina play

Black oak is a widely distributed eastern deciduous species, offering useful timber and acorn production for wildlife. Black oak can be found growing on a variety of sites, from dry ridges to moist coves. The wood is often marketed as red oak.

range map Click to see more images. fall color wood grain

Black oak can be regenerated by cleacutting, seed-tree, and possibly large group selection methods. Stump sprouts are helpful for future stocking. Black oak responds well to removal of competition for light.

Black oak is found on a wide variety of mesic to dry sites. In the South, it is commonly found on well drained bottoms.


A medium sized tree to 80 feet with an irregular crown and a tapering, somewhat limby bole.

Timber Value
Black oak is commonly used for construction lumber, fence posts, furniture, flooring, interior finish, barrels, railroad ties, and firewood.

Wildlife Value
Numerous wildlife species eat black oak acorns. Fox squirrels have been observed eating the catkins.
Attracts squirrels, mice, voles, deer, turkeys, various other birds

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Black oak leaves exhibit tremendous plasticity, with sun leaves thickening and expressing deep sinuses. Shade leaves are thin and papery with very shallow sinuses. The wood of black oak is sold as “red oak” and is used in furniture, flooring and interior finishing.

Latin Meaning
Quercus: Latin name / velutina: Latin "velutum" (velvety, in reference to the buds)

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Landowner Factsheets © 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.