Oaks can withstand properly conducted prescribed fires. Low intensity fires frequently occurred in historic upland hardwood systems and oak seedlings are naturally adapted to fire. The oak seedlings develop a strong root system before they initiate height growth, enabling the seedlings to resprout after they have been top killed. When fire is lacking in the forest, the upland oaks are often shaded out by the faster growing species and eventually die. Prescribed fire can reduce oak competition and allow the oak seedlings to grow.