History/general species info: Bur Oak is a majestic tree of the tallgrass prairie that once covered central North America. The acorns are the largest of any North American oak. Macrocarpa, from ancient Greek for"large fruit", and are important food for wildlife. The wood is commercially valuable; durable and used for flooring, fence posts, cabinets, and barrels. The acorns can be eaten boiled and raw. Native Americans have used the astringent bark to treat wounds, sores, rashes, and diarrhea.
Characteristics: Large tree. Deciduous. Long-lived. Salt tolerant. Deer resistant. Can live for 200-300 years, and produces acorns yearly. Has a long taproot making it very drought-tolerant. Sensitive root zone. Very large leaves and acorns. The bark is gray with distinct vertical ridges. Casts deep shade.
Size: Height: 100' Spread: 100'
Flower: Blooms are yellow, green, or brown catkins, and appear in March-May
Planting / Care: Full sun. Grows well in acidic, alkaline, loamy, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. When planting, keep the base of the trunk exposed. Best if planted in gritty, sharply drained soil. Water regularly until established. No pruning required. Be sure you site the tree with enough room to grow and in a permanent location. Bur oaks have a deep taproot and their expansive roots grow more deep than wide, so they won't lift sidewalks and pavers over time. If at planting time, the soil is amended with organic matter, or the tree starts out in soil with a good nutrient balance, bur oak does not need extra fertilizer.
Wildlife: The tree attracts songbirds, ground birds and mammals. The acorns attracts fruit-birds, mammals, rodents, and deer.