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Bur Oak

Quercus macrocarpa

Hardiness Zones: 3 - 8   View Map
  • Offers dense shade
  • Tolerates pollution and heat stress
  • Features alternating leaves that are 6–12" long with 5–9 lobes separated about halfway down by a pair of particularly deep sinuses
  • Yields acorns that are larger than most others, with a conspicuously fringed cap that extends about halfway down the nut
  • Lives for more than 200–300 years
  • Is also known as the mossycup oak
  • Grows in a rounded shape
  • Is difficult to transplant

Tree Details



Growth Speed


Scientific Name

Quercus macrocarpa

Mature Height

70' - 80'

Shipping Height

2' - 4'

Mature Spread

70' - 80'


The bur oak is a mighty sight to behold. A coarsely textured crown, wild and wooly acorns, and a massive trunk with rough and deeply furrowed bark combine to make one impressive tree. But really, those characteristics helped this oak survive the elements of its wide-reaching natural range. In fact, the natural bur oak range is the northern- and western- most of all the eastern oak species.

While its massive size counts this tree out for most urban and suburban yards, the bur oak make a great choice for parks, institutional grounds and expansive yards.

Sun Preference

Full Sun

Soil Preference

Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Drought, Loamy, Sandy, Well Drained, Wet

Wildlife Value

Bur oak acorns are the preferred food for wood ducks, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, rabbits, mice, squirrels and other rodents.


Bur oaks are the dominant trees that grace Arbor Day Farm and the hills and valleys surrounding Nebraska City. There, on the banks of the lower Missouri River, this magnificent oak is close to the heart of its natural range. It is the most western of the eastern oaks, extending all the way to the foothills of the Rockies where it is reduced to a shrub. In pioneer days on the plains, it came to the rescue of unfortunate travelers who needed new wagon tongues, wheel hubs or spokes. Sioux City, Iowa, is the location of the Council Oak, so named because Lewis and Clark held council with the Native Americans under its already 150-year-old branches.

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