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Bur Oak Quercus macrocarpa


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Bur Oak
© Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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Alternate name: Blue Oak, Mossycup Oak, Burr Oak

Family: Fagaceae, Beech view all from this family

Description Burr oak is a large, deciduous tree with a very wide, open crown. Usually wider than tall, the tree can exceed 100 ft. in height and width. The massive trunk supports heavy, horizontal limbs and rough, deep-ridged bark. Catkins appear just before or with the appearance of new leaves. Large-lobed leaves are glossy-green above, silvery below and turn brown in fall.

Habitat Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Grasslands & prairies, Watersides (fresh), Fields.

Range Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, Texas, Great Lakes, Western Canada, Eastern Canada, Plains, New England.

Comments Drought-resistant, long-lived and reasonably fast-growing for an oak. Tolerates limey soils better than other oaks. Susceptible to oak wilt and a number of other problems. Sensitive to root zone disturbance caused by construction.

Exposure Preference Sun.

Native Distribution Nova Scotia to s. Saskatchewan & s.e. Montana, s. to Alabama & Texas

Site Preference Prairies; open woods; sandy ridges; stream edges

Soil Preference Various soils & moisture conditions. pH 4.6-8.

Wildlife Value Attracts songbirds, ground birds and mammals.