The stately bur oak, native to the Midwest, is a great choice as a shade tree and for specimen plantings in parks, spacious yards, and other large areas. Its massive trunk has gray to brown furrowed bark and its branches bear lustrous dark green leaves that turn yellow-brown in fall. Large acorns with fringed caps attract birds and small mammals.
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area
- North America
- Zone 3
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Zone 8
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Dry sites
- Occasional drought
- Occasional flooding
- Alkaline soil
- Clay soil
- Road salt
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Late spring
Size & Form
70-80 feet high and wide
A large tree with massive, wide-spreading, heavy branches, especially in open areas
Tree & Plant Care
Commonly found in upland savannas
Full sun in well drained soil, but adaptable to many soils. Drought tolerant once established
Prune oaks in the dormant season to avoid attracting beetles that may carry oak wilt.
Disease, pests, and problems
Can be affected by pests such as the leaf galls and kermes oak scale.
Anthracnose, bacterial leaf scorch, and powdery mildew
Native geographic location and habitat
Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife
Fringed cap acorns are high-value to animals that can chew the nut, such as ground birds, water birds and small mammals.
Bark color and texture
Mature bark is dark gray to brown with a furrowed trunk
Stems are stout and smooth but young twigs can be develop corky ridges.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate leaf arrangement
Large, 4 to 10 inch long leaves with 5 to 7 rounded lobes. The terminal lobe can be fiddle-shaped.
Leaves are lustrous, dark green above with lighter silvery green beneath.
Fall color is yellow-brown
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Male flowers hang down in drooping catkins, female flowers are small spikes in leaf axils
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Large 2 inch diameter fringed acorns. The conspicuous fringe covers most of the nut. Fruit ripens in the fall.