Black Oak Tree

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The Black Oak

The Black Oak is more commonly known as the California Black Oak, and is sometimes referred to as Kellogg Oak. This oak belongs to the red oak family and is originally from western North America. It is closely related to the same species found in eastern and central North America

This tree is deciduous and generally grows to be anywhere from 9 to 25 meters in height, with a diameter of around 1.4 meters. Larger trees can actually be 36 meters tall and 1.6 meters in diameter. If the plant grows on a poor site, it will form a scrub instead.

Black Oaks that grow in open areas have a broad, rounded crown, and its lower branches will droop low enough to touch the ground or form a browse line. If they grow in closed stands, the crown will be slender and narrow while the trees are young and then be somewhat irregularly broad once they grow old.


The trunks of the black oak are usually forked and in older trees they tend to decay and be hollow. Younger trees have very thin, smooth barks that grow to be moderately thick, platy and deeply fissured with age.

This oak can grow one or more vertical roots which penetrate through bedrock using the laterally spreading roots that appear from vertical ones. There are also plenty of surface roots.

The acorns that come from these trees are quite large for the species. The leaves are quite deeply lobed. These trees can live to be at least five hundred years old.

Flowering and Fruiting

This species of oak is monoecious, so that the flowers and catkins develop and emerge before or almost at the same time as the leaves, during April or May. The fruit is in the form of an acorn and occurs either alone or in clusters ranging from two to five. It matures in two years. The acorns are brown when they are mature and tend to become ripe during August or late October depending on where the tree is located.


The black oak is extremely critical to many forms of wildlife. In Californian rangelands and forests, oaks are the most important food source for wildlife, while also providing shelter. These trees occupy more of the total area in California than all other species of hardwood. Livestock, too, make use of the black oak for their food and cover during the hot summer months.

The Black-tailed Deer and Western Gray Squirrel get almost fifty percent of their winter and fall diets from the acorns of these black oak trees. These acorns are so important that depending on the size of the crop, fawn survival rates can increase or decrease.


The acorns given by this oak is preferred over those of other species when it comes to making acorn meal. The wood from this oak is used to make furniture, pallets, cupboards, and high grade lumber and industrial timbers. It can also be used as fuel wood. This species of black oak makes up twenty nine percent of California�s hardwood timber sources, and most of the lumber there is sawn from this hardwood.

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