Bur Oak

Quercus macrocarpa

If you are looking to make a visual impact in your landscape, make sure to select the Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) for your property. This tree is an exceptional ornamental specimen. With its rough and rugged outline, it makes a strong statement in your yard. This Bur oak is a perfect tree for those large spaces.

Bur Oak ‚ÄčAttributes

The Bur oak is a member of the White oak family, and you can find it throughout the United States. This deciduous tree has a wide-spreading crown, and it can reach a height of 70 to 80 feet. In the spring, you will notice the leaves starting to bud. Once the summer season has arrived, the Bur oak features distinctive deep green, lobed leaves. These leaves are large, and they can grow up to 8 to 10 inches long. All that leathery foliage remains throughout the growing season. By the autumn, your space is draped with a mix of yellow and russet brown hues.

This Bur oak is a unique tree. Out of all the North American oaks, the Bur variety yields the largest acorns. These acorns can provide food for birds, squirrels, deer, and ducks. However, don’t expect a bountiful yield for a few decades. These trees will not produce acorns until they are about 30 years old.

Younger bark has ridges with a corky appearance. As it ages, the main trunk and branches become deeply incised for a more coarse look. If you want some winter interest, the Bur oak stands out in those snowy and barren landscapes.

Oak Bur



  • Plant Type: Tree
  • Watering Needs: Water regularly – weekly, or more often in extreme heat.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: KWURK-us mack-roe-KAR-puh
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Deciduous
  • Growth habit: Slow
  • Average landscape size: Large, rounded tree reaching 80 feet or more in height
  • Special features: corky, ridged twigs, and a deeply furrowed bark.
  • Foliage color: Dark green
  • Blooms: April to mid-May
  • Flower color: Yellowish-brown
  • Flower attributes: Insignificant, showy Fruit
  • Garden style: Prairie, meadow
  • Design Ideas: Bur Oak also functions well as a shelterbelt tree due to its low moisture needs and indifference to soil types. ¬†The tree is sturdy and not likely to shed branches, making it ideal for parks or medians where there is enough space for the tree to reach its mature size.
  • Companion Plants: American Filbert, Smooth Sumac, Prairie Crabapple, and Coralberry.

Bur Oak Landscape Uses

You want to find the right spot for this wide-spreading oak tree. This large tree will be the perfect specimen shade tree for those huge, open spots. If you have a substantial parcel of land, intersperse a few Bur oaks into those grassy areas.

These Bur oaks work well in an informal setting. You need to be careful with the spacing. For the best results, they should be planted about 20 to 50 feet apart from each tree. If you want to achieve a more natural look, then avoid planting them in a straight line. Make sure to leave enough room to create a wilderness path between these trees.

For those trees that are planted together, their wide-spreading canopies will form into one common head. These trees are a perfect way to create your own private forest of mighty oaks. Due to its tough nature, the Bur oak is an excellent choice for those properties that need windbreaks or shelterbelts. The Bur oak is resistant to ice damage and wind. For those areas with a large population of wildlife, you can use the Bur oak as a food forest for those little creatures.

Many cities and towns love to add the Bur oak to their parks and boulevards. With its longevity, these trees are an ideal choice for most neighborhoods. If you are looking for a specimen tree, this oak will truly shine in your landscape.

Bur Oak Care and Planting

The Bur oak prefers moist, well-draining soil. However, it can tolerate dry or clay soils. This tree is very tolerant of droughts. Since it can endure those extremely wet soils, the Bur oak is even used near rain gardens. The Bur oak can thrive in USDA zones 3 to 8.

If you want to keep those young trees free from stress, you need to give them a moderate amount of water. The Bur oak requires full sunshine for the best results. Once the Bur oak is established in your landscape, it will grow fast. These oak trees are known for their hardiness in most environments. During the dormant winter season, you will want to prune these oaks before the growing season.

Get Your Bur Oak Today!

Quercus macrocarpa

The stately Bur oak is a perfect choice as a shade tree. It will also make a great specimen planting in those spacious yards, parks, or other large areas. The massive trunk features furrowed gray to brown bark, and the branches bear dark green leaves. In the fall, you will be treated to a spectacular display of yellow and brown foliage. This is one tree that will make an exceptional addition to your landscape.

At Arbor Valley Nursery, we can help you find the right tree for your gardening or landscaping business. We have a large selection of trees, shrubs, and plants for your landscape. If you would like to learn more about our products, please fill out the contact form.

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