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Bur Oak

Bur Oak

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Bur Oak
Quercus macrocarpa
(KWER-kus ma-kro-KAR-pa)

Burr Oak, Mossycup Oak, Mossy Overcup Oak, Prairie Oak

Family
Fagaceae (white oak group)

Description
This native giant is considered the longest lived of the oaks.  A stately tree, it can grow 150 feet tall and spread nearly as wide.

Plant habit
Large, deciduous shade tree

Landscape use
Locate carefully; provide ample space away from structures and utilities.  Plant on southern and western exposures of structures to provide shade.  As canopy matures, understory light conditions may change from sun to full shade.  Provides food and shelter to a variety of beneficial insects and wildlife.

Average mature size
60’ tall x 60’ wide

Growth rate
Moderate

Sun exposure
Sun

Soil requirements
Any well-drained soil, including alkaline soils

Water requirements
Low to medium.  Tolerates drought once established

Heat tolerance
High; tolerates urban conditions

Foliage
Deciduous, Deep green leaves

Flowers
Catkins, 4”-6” long, white

Blooming period
Spring

Fruit characteristics
Acorns with fringed cup, can grow to golf ball size.  Acorns are a food source to a diverse variety of wildlife.

Bark
Rough corky bark provides winter interest

Pests and disease
None serious; resistant to oak wilt

Other
Can develop a deep tap root system.  Straight trunk and large branches (common to white oaks) are ideal hardwood lumber for furniture building

“An outstanding tree, it should be more widely planted.”  – Neil Sperry, Neil Sperry’s Complete Guide to Texas Gardening.