The Bur Oak grows in acidic, alkaline, drought tolerant, loamy, sandy, well drained, wet, wide range, clay soils.
In addition to its notable strength, Bur Oak has other attributes that make it a splendid tree for urban landscapes. It provides food for squirrels, dense shade, and is resistant to air pollution and heat stress. Its generally slow growth is compensated by longevity that may exceed 200 to 300 years.
Tolerant of a variety of moisture and soil conditions, adapts well to urban settings. Its fringed acorns are food for wildlife. A very long-lived tree. Prefers full sun. Grows 70' to 80', 80' spread. (zones 3-8)
Bur oak acorns are at the top of the food preference list for wood ducks, wild turkeys, whitetail deer, rabbits, mice, squirrels and other rodents.
Bur Oaks are the dominant trees that grace Arbor Day Farm and the hills and valleys surrounding Nebraska City. There, on the banks of the lower Missouri River, this magnificent Oak is close to the heart of its natural range. It is the most western of the eastern Oaks, extending all the way to the foothills of the Rockies where it is reduced to a shrub. In pioneer days on the plains, it came to the rescue of unfortunate travelers who needed new wagon tongues, wheel hubs or spokes. Sioux City, Iowa is the location of the Council Oak, so named because Lewis and Clark held council with the Native Americans under its already 150 year old branches.
Moderate moisture with some drought tolerance.
This tree alternates, large, 6 to 12 inch wide leaves. Each leaf has 5 to 9 lobes separated about half way by a pair of particularly deep sinuses.
Drab brown color, not significant.
The acorns of the Bur Oak are larger than most other Oaks and have a cap that extends about half way down and is conspicuously fringed. This feature gives the tree its other name, the Mossycup Oak.