A common tree in the Appalachian forests, Black Oak, or Quercus velutina, is rarely found in nurseries and, unfortunately, is seldom planted. With its rich, glossy foliage, it is possibly the best shade tree in the Red Oak group. The bold, dark structure of the tree in the dormant season makes it a valuable addition to the winter landscape, especially after a snowfall. The bark is also interesting being black with a blocky pattern. Its acorns are a food source for many birds and other wildlife; in fact, although it is a wonderful yard and park tree, its prolific acorn production sometimes precludes its use as a street tree due to the extensive cleanup required.
Black Oak is more tolerant than Red Oak of urban growing conditions and is also resistant to Oak Wilt and Bacterial Leaf Scorch. It will tolerate a variety of poor soils in the wild - dry, sandy, and heavy clay among them. It grows 60'-80' high and 30'-40' wide. Black Oak is primarily native to slopes, ridges, and upland hills from Florida to Texas, north to Maine, and west to Michigan and Minnesota.
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