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Product: Bur / Burr Oak
Scientific Name: Quercus macrocarpa
Full Grown Size: Height of 70–80′ and a spread of around 80′ at maturity
Lifespan: Between 200 and 400 years
Soil condition: Acidic, alkaline, loamy, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils.
Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade, Shade
Water requirements: Quart of water each morning for the first two weeks and 1 to 2 gallons of water every other day for the next two months. Cut back to once per week for the remainder of the growing season. Skip a day or two if the soil is muddy
USDA Zones: Hardiness Zones 4 through 8
The great Bur Oak is a mammoth in the oak family. While it isn’t the largest variety of oak, to say it is less than colossal would be an understatement. Officially named the Quercus Marroarpa, this deciduous tree typically reaches heights of 98 ft, and in rare cases 160 ft. That is the same as a 9 story building! Trust us, you would not want to fall from a treehouse tucked up in one of these beautiful long lived native Texas tree.
This tree will continue to grow to gargantuan sizes. The trunk of the tree usually reaches a diameter of 10 feet. Although the Bur Oak is one of the slowest-growing oaks, around 1 foot per year, if the tree starts its early years planted in the ground, it may grow up to 3 feet per year. With their steady growth rate, Bur Oaks commonly reach ages of 300 to 400 years old!
You can identify these trees by their medium gray colored and rugged bark. The leaves on the Bur Oak usually reach about the size of your hand in length and width and vary in shape with wide to narrow lobes. When speaking flowers, you can expect to see greenish-yellow catkins during the spring season.
Last, but certainly not least, you can identify Bur oaks from the large acorns they bear every few years, which are between 2-4 inches wide.These are the largest acorns produced by any North American oak, and have proven to be vital in the ecosystem as a food source for wildlife. These trees have evolved to produce seedlings in a strategy known as masting, which means they bear so many acorns at once, leaving food for predators and then som. This ensures that there will be seedlings leftover to carry on Bur Oak species.
Bur Oaks are primarily grown in temperate climates, such as states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, etc. This is because Bur Oaks have a faster growth rate in warm and wet climates than cold and dry climates. The rings on the tree will reflect a lighter color for growth in the spring and a darker color for growth in the winter, as the seasons and weather patterns shift annually.
With Bur Oaks being so large and having a long life expectancy, they prefer to grow in wide open areas, and away from any forest canopy. This is why these trees are found in eastern prairies. Adding to their durability, Bur Oaks that reach the age of 12 years or older are often fire-tolerant because of their thick bark. Likely this tree developed this survival strategy throughout its evolutionary process, as the most common habitat of the bur oak is Midwestern Savannas where fires are prevalent in the early spring and late fall.