Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Blackjack Oak

Blackjack Oak

Quercus marilandica

Full sun; medium to dry moisture level; tolerant of a wide range of soils including medium loam, sandy loam, pure sand, clay loam, clay, and gravelly; acidic pH.

20-40 feet height by 20-40 feet spread; blooms in spring with yellowish green, male catkins 3-4 inches long and inconspicuous, pale orange-red female spikes; egg-shaped acorn, ¾ inch long, with a cup enclosing 1/3-1/2 the nut, in fall. Acorns mature in two years.

Growth Rate: Slow

Maintenance: All oaks are susceptible to a large number of diseases, including oak wilt, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests including scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils. Notwithstanding these problems, oaks are generally considered to be low maintenance trees.

Propagation: C(90-120) at 36-40 degrees F. Due to a deep taproot, best to simply plant an acorn directly in ground or do container-grown seedlings in deep containers for no more than 1-2 years.

Native Region: Statewide

Typically found as a scruffy tree with poor form, having stout branches and an irregular outline. Has minimal ornamental quality as a specimen plant. Typically found in infertile, barren soils, often sandy, and its presence is a good indicator of poor soils. Will grow wherever it can find a foothold, even in shallow soils over bedrock.   Best used in woodland gardens and native plant areas. However, give it good soil and space to develop and it can become an attractive, striking small tree that is worth any difficulties in establishing. Foliage is an undistinguished yellow-brown to russet in fall. Drought tolerant.

Very high wildlife value. Provides food for a wide variety of songbirds, ground birds, deer, and small mammals. Provides cover and nesting sites for birds. Attracts butterflies. Larval host for Horaces Duskywing and White M Hairstreak butterflies.

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