Black oak, a native of the Chicago region, could be used as a parkway or street tree. Fall color is yellow to yellow-brown. This species is not offered in commerce as often as other oak species.
This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
All common names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Acid soil,
- Dry soil
- Dry sites,
- Alkaline soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- May be difficult to find in nurseries,
- Messy fruit/plant parts
Seasons of Interest:
- mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Game birds,
- Game mammals,
- Migrant birds,
- Small mammals
Tree & Plant Care
Black oak can be difficult to transplant due to a deep taproot.
Though tolerant of dry sites, this species cannot withstand severe drought.
Prune oaks in the dormant season to avoid attracting beetles that may carry oak wilt.
Disease, pests, and problems
Oak wilt is a potential disease problem.
Insect pests include scale and two-lined chestnut borer.
Galls caused by mites or insects are common, but not harmful.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to the Chicago region. Commonly found in dry sites.
Bark color and texture
Bark is ridged and furrowed. Very dark to almost black at maturity.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, alternate leaves with moderately deep sinuses and bristle-tipped lobes; up to 10 inches long.
Dark green in summer, changing to yellow or yellow-brown in fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Male flowers in dangling catkins; female flowers smaller and held close to the stem. Not ornamentally important.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Acorns, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long topped with a slightly fringed cap. Borne singly or in pairs.