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Bur Oak Tree

Quercus macrocarpa
As low as $0.00
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Leave a Mighty Legacy, Plant Native Bur Oak

  • Enormous Native White Oak
  • Long Lived up to 400 Years
  • Valuable Wood
  • Spreads Broad and Wide in Open Areas
  • Grows Straight with a High Canopy in Forests
  • Leathery, Smooth Lobed Dark Green Leaves
  • Marvelously Textured Bark
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Very Adaptable
  • Excellent Tree for Shelterbelts and Windbreaks
  • Wind Tolerant Tree Seldom Sees Ice Damage
  • Magnificent Specimen Tree
  • Very Low Maintenance
  • Large Acorns Attract Wildlife
  • Once Established, Growth Rate is Faster Than You Think

If you have the space and want to make an enormous visual impact in your landscape, leave your mark for future generations by planting the spectacular Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa). This tree is an outstanding ornamental specimen. Bur Oak is impressive, to say the least. Its coarse, rugged, rounded outline delivers a strong character in the landscape.

Bur Oak is a wonderful deciduous native with a wide-spreading crown which can attain a massive overall size in open areas. Consider it the northern answer to the Southern Live Oak with its gravitas and charm. In a forest setting, the trunk will soar straight, and the canopy will be higher.

These stately trees typically live for hundreds of years! A member of the White Oak group, this massive tree is native to the eastern United States and can be found all along the muddy Missouri River valley of North America. But Bur Oak will grow beautifully from Alaska to Texas, further proof of its mighty strength.

As you might imagine, it's tolerant of a variety of soil and water conditions. It also adapts well to urban settings. Such a wide regional disbursement also brings plenty of nicknames. It is sometimes spelled Burr Oak and is also called Mossycup Oak because of its unique capped acorn.

From spring to summer the Bur Oak flaunts its distinctive, lobed, shiny and deep green leaves. The leaves are large, sometimes getting to be 8 or 10 inches long and they have 5-9 rounded lobes of varying size.

Each characteristic leaf usually has a pair of very deeply indented areas that almost reach the midrib of the leaf. Leathery foliage remains shiny dark green during the growing season and fall color is a pleasing mix of russet brown and yellow.

Bur Oak is an investment in our shared future. It produces the largest acorns of all North American Oaks that feature a mossy scale or bur near the rim. The Latin species name macrocarpa translates to large fruit.

These acorns are an invaluable mast resource for wildlife food such as squirrels, birds, ducks and deer. Use in planned food forests. But please note that young trees may not begin producing acorns for 30 years or more. The large, fringed capped, yellow-brown, Bur Oak acorns develop on mature plants from elegant spring catkin flowers.

Young bark on the twigs can have a corky ridge, much like you see on a Burning Bush twig. The bark on the main trunk and larger branches is very deeply incised and characteristically coarse and slightly interlaced.

This is bark that adds winter interest to your landscape. It begs for children to run their hands along its fascinating length.

There may be no better memorial tree to celebrate the life of a loved one than a Bur Oak. Plant one upon the birth of a child, or as a special way to mark the start of a new household or marriage.

Bur Oak is truly one of our finest national treasure trees. Plant it with pride, and order from the experts at We take special care with all of our plants, but Bur Oak is one of our staff favorites. Order today!

How to Use Bur Oak in the Landscape

Carefully consider your planting site when establishing a new Bur Oak. The wide-spreading, large size of this long-lived tree makes an ideal specimen shade tree for large, open, windy locations.

For large property owners with big open areas, consider planting your own Oak Savanna. Savannas are grassy areas with a sprinkling of Oak trees loosely spaced.

Use an informal grouping of 2, 3, 5 or even 7 plants. Vary the spacing between plants from 50 to 20 feet apart and avoid using a straight line for the most natural looking planting. Create a few loosely triangular groups, using an odd number of plants. Leave space for a wilderness path between groups.

We recommend setting out your container trees in your landscape first before digging your holes. Take time to study each tree in order to finalize a design that makes the most of your land contours and elevations. Turn the containers 360 degrees, so you can study all the angles of your trees. It's a momentous occasion to plant Bur Oaks, after all! Enjoy the process.

Trees that are planted closer together will combine their large, wide-spreading canopies into one big common head. It's a wonderful look, just like you might see in nature.

Bur Oak is a great tree to include in your shelterbelts and windbreaks because of their tough, maintenance-free nature. They are highly resistant to wind and ice damage. Plant 10 - 18 feet apart on center. Measure from the center of one to the center of the next.

Use in food forests with Red Oak and Pin Oaks to feed wildlife. Include Chickasaw Plum thickets, Redosier and Viburnum shrubs.

Municipalities love to include Bur Oaks in wide boulevards and in parks because they are long-lived. Follow their lead and use a specimen tree in your lawn. You'll never regret the choice.

#ProPlantTips for Care

Like many trees, Bur Oak prefers a moist, well-drained soil for best results - but know too that it tolerates clay soils, dry soils, and drought very well. They even tolerate short periods of extremely wet soils and are many times suggested for use in Rain Gardens. They love the river bottom soils in the Midwest and northern regions well up into Canada.

Give young Bur Oak trees a moderate amount of water on a regular basis to keep them stress free. It will thrive in full sun. Once your new Bur Oak gets established in your native soil, you will find that it does grow much faster than you think. Established Oaks exhibit excellent vigor.

Oaks are best pruned during the winter dormant period. The best time is usually January and February, well before they start to come out of dormancy.

As with all trees, it is important not to plant your Bur Oak too deeply. Instead, plant it at the same depth it was growing in the nursery container.

This beautiful, rugged tree will bring wildlife to your yard and last for many generations. Bur Oak is one of the original dominant trees of North America. Order yours today and rebuild our precious natural resources!

More Information
Botanical Name Quercus macrocarpa
Mature Height 70 - 100 feet
Mature Spread 70 - 100 feet
Soil Type Widely Adaptable
Moisture Moderate, Low
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Growth Rate Medium
Bloom Period Early Spring
Foliage Color Green
Fall Color Yellow
Pollinator Required No
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Growing Zone Range 3-8
Bur Oak Tree Is Suited to Grow in Zones 3-8
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