Plant Database

Heavy, hard and strong. Bobwhite quail, doves, and ducks eat seeds that drop to the ground. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Quercus marilandica. When given good soil and room to develops an attractive, symmetrical form. This semi-savanna is known as the Cross Timbers. Roots and root bark supply oil of sassafras used to perfume soap and sassafras tea.

Native Plants

Lobed Simple Leaf

Adventures in leaf identification I have long-term confusion about some small oak trees along our lane. They grow in tangled thickets of underbrush where it's impossible to even guess how many separate trees there are.

Several times, I've tried to look up their leaves in my books. Every time, I think that they look a lot like bear oak. However, bear oak isn't native here, so I always reluctantly decide on blackjack oak. Here are leaves from two of these trees, growing near each other. The top row of leaves are from the first tree and the bottom row of leaves are from the second tree.

Notice the variation just between the two leaves of the second tree bottom row. The two leaves in the bottom row resemble the two types of leaves I find attributed to the blackjack oak in my reference books. Thus, the tree from which the bottom two leaves came is probably a blackjack oak -- but I'm still not sure about the other tree. The books I've consulted also mention a yellowish color and some fuzz along the veins on the underside of the leaf, and bristles. None of the leaves in my photo are fuzzy underneath.

And, though they are paler on their underside, I wouldn't call them yellowish. Also, I don't see any bristles on them. But perhaps they'll develop fuzz, color, and bristles as the season advances.

Here's a summary of what I've read about blackjack oaks while once again researching their leaf shape. Blackjack oaks are small scrubby trees with crooked, sturdy branches. Their height is usually less than 40 feet, and often much shorter. They grow in thin soil and dry conditions. They don't like shade, so they are usually found at forest edges or on slopes.

All of this is a perfect description of the trees I'm calling blackjacks. Blackjacks are found throughout much of Kentucky, including my county. They are native to every state in the Southeastern U.

It is interesting to note in a map of their distribution that they do not grow in the Mississippi River valley. This tree was first described in from a specimen in the colony of Maryland, referred to in the Latin species name. Blackjack oak is one of the few species of red oaks that shares the white oak group characteristic of vessels blocked by tyloses. Western populations in Texas and Oklahoma are often recognized as Q.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network. From the Image Gallery Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious Inflorescence: Small to medium sized tree usually between 15 - 45 feet 4. Leaves glossy yellowish-green above, pale green with dense brown pubescence scurfy below.

Bloom Information Bloom Color: White , Red , Green Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May. Usually exists on rather poor sites with dry sandy or clay soils in the central and southern forest regions. Propagation of oaks by seed is the most common, but horticulturists are developing techniques for vegetative propagation. In spite of a long list of pests found on the oaks, white oak is long-lived and durable if given enough room to develop. Galls cause homeowners much concern.

There are many types and galls can be on the leaves or twigs. Most galls are harmless so chemical controls are not suggested. Aphids cause distorted growth and deposits of honeydew on lower leaves.

On large trees, naturally-occurring predatory insects will often bring the aphid population under control.

Boring insects are most likely to attack weakened or stressed trees. Newly planted young trees may also be attacked. Keep trees as healthy as possible with regular fertilization and water during dry weather. Many caterpillars feed on oak.

Large trees tolerate some feeding injury without harm. Trees repeatedly attacked, or having some other problem, may need spraying. Tent caterpillars form nests in trees then eat the foliage. The nests can be pruned out when small. Where they occur, gypsy moth caterpillars are extremely destructive on oaks, especially white oak.

Fall cankerworm has been a problem in some years. Twig pruner causes twigs to drop off in the summer. The larvae ride the twig to the ground. Rake up and destroy fallen twigs. Lace bugs occasionally suck juices from leaves causing them to look dusty or whitish gray.

Enrich your life with the study of trees.

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