Landowner Fact Sheets

bur oak Quercus macrocarpa play

Bur oak is a very drought-tough tree common to dry uplands, sandy plains, and prairie grasslands. The wood is commercially valuable and acorn production benefits wildlife. Bur oaks are relatively easy to grow and are often used for shade trees, or shelterbelt plantings.

range map Click to see more images. fall color

Bur oak's intermediate shade tolerance and slow growth allow for regeneration by shelterwood and group selection methods.

Bur oak grows on many types of soils ranging from dry, sandy plains to alluvial bottoms. It is very resistant to drought.


A large tree that often reaches over 100 feet tall with a long clear bole. In the open it becomes a very wide, spreading tree.

Timber Value
Bur oak is used for construction lumber, flooring, beams, mine timbers, railroad ties, planking, furniture, veneer, etc.

Wildlife Value
Bur oak acorns are consumed by a variety of wildlife species. Deer eat the foliage.
Attracts squirrels, mice, cottontails, wood ducks, deer

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Bur oak is very drought tolerant, extending across the plains to the foothills of the Rockies. Bur oak has the largest acorns of all North American oak species. Bur oak has performed admirably well on coal mine spoils in Kansas. It has also displayed excellent tolerance to urban air pollution and was named 2001 Urban Tree of the Year by the magazine City Trees.

Latin Meaning
Quercus: Latin name / macrocarpa: Greek "makros" (large) and "karpos" (seed)

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.