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Quercus macrocarpa

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Quercus microphylla
Phonetic Spelling
KWER-kus ma-kro-KAR-pa
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Bur oak is a large drought resistant, long-lived and reasonably fast-grower for an oak. Its acorns have a bur or mossy appearance hence the common name.  Tolerates lime soils better than most oaks. It is native to the central plains and the great lakes regions of North America. The tree has strong branches, drought tolerance, winter hardiness, and freedom from serious insects or diseases. It prefers rich bottomland but is tolerant of poor soil conditions as rocky slopes and dry or clay soils if given full sun conditions. A long taproot makes it difficult to transplant.

Use as a shade tree in a large yard, parks, library or other open areas where it has room to grow.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Insect pests include borers, caterpillars, scale, nut weevils, oak skeletonizer, and leaf miner.  Potential diseases include chestnut blight, anthracnose, oak leaf blister, cankers, powdery mildew, leaf spots, and oak wilt.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Boomer'
    Use in multi-row windbreaks, reforestation for watershed protection, and wildlife habitat plantings.
  • 'Lippert'
    Use in windbreaks, as a landscape plant for urban and recreational areas, and for wildlife food and shelter.
  • Var. depressa
    Occurs western margin of the great plains
  • Var. macrocarpa
    Occurs over most of the range with thick large cups
  • Var. oliviformi
    Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota; trees with thinner and smaller cups
'Boomer', 'Lippert', Var. depressa, Var. macrocarpa, Var. oliviformi
Tags:
#hardy#deciduous#large shade tree#shade tree#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#large tree#moths#tree#lawn tree#deer resistant#acorns#nighttime garden#oak#long lifespan#leathery leaves#parks#larval host plant#dendrology#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#pollinator garden#problem for horses#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Boomer'
    Use in multi-row windbreaks, reforestation for watershed protection, and wildlife habitat plantings.
  • 'Lippert'
    Use in windbreaks, as a landscape plant for urban and recreational areas, and for wildlife food and shelter.
  • Var. depressa
    Occurs western margin of the great plains
  • Var. macrocarpa
    Occurs over most of the range with thick large cups
  • Var. oliviformi
    Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota; trees with thinner and smaller cups
'Boomer', 'Lippert', Var. depressa, Var. macrocarpa, Var. oliviformi
Tags:
#hardy#deciduous#large shade tree#shade tree#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#large tree#moths#tree#lawn tree#deer resistant#acorns#nighttime garden#oak#long lifespan#leathery leaves#parks#larval host plant#dendrology#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#pollinator garden#problem for horses#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Quercus
    Species:
    macrocarpa
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The valuable wood is used for f cabinets, barrels, hardwood flooring, and fence posts.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY Canada: AB , MB , NB , ON , QC , SK
    Wildlife Value:
    Bur oak is an excellent source of food for many wildlife species including deer, turkeys, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and rodents. As it reaches maturity it provides protection and nesting for numerous species of birds. Oak trees support a wide variety of Lepidopteran. You may see Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Adult Imperial Moths do not feed. Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus), which have one flight from June-August everywhere but Florida where they emerge April-May. Edward's Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii), has one flight from May-July in the south and June-July in the north. Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), has three to four flights in the south from February-November and two flights in the north from May-September. White-M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) has three broods in the north from February-October. Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) has three broods in Texas and the deep south from January-November, and two broods in the north from April-September. Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) has one brood from April-June, appearing as early as January in Florida.
    Play Value:
    Shade
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Wildlife Nesting
    Edibility:
    Acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out
    Dimensions:
    Height: 70 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 70 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Acorns are large and oval up to 1 1/2 inches broad with 1/4 to 1/2 of the acorn enclosed in the deeply fringed cup. Resembles the spiny bur of a chestnut. Acorn mature in 1 year.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Pollen flowers in drooping, elongated clusters. Male and female flowers are borne in separate catkins on the same tree. Flowers appear in spring as leaves emerge.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    6"-12" long leathery dark green leaves above, greyish-green with finely dense pubescence below. The margins have 5-7 deep rounded lobes with the two middle sinuses nearly reaching the midrib dividing the leaf nearly in half. The base is wedge-shaped.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    The bark is gray, very deeply furrowed and grooved with age and has vertical, flattened, narrow ridges.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Cluster of terminal buds
    Stem Surface:
    Corky Ridges
    Stem Description:
    Stems are stout, yellow-brown to brown-gray, bold-textured, and often slightly corky after the first year Multiple terminal buds are small, round, and may be somewhat pubescent often surrounded by thread-like stipules. The laterals are similar but smaller.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Pollution
    Problems:
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Abdominal pain, constipation then diarrhea (occasionally bloody), depression, frequent urination, discolored urine, jaundice; acorns can obstruct the digestive tract
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Gallotannins, quercitrin, and quercitin.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves