Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is a majestic, slow-growing tree reaching 60 to 70’ in height and spread, and is typically very long-lived (think 200, 300+ years!). It’s the sort of tree you plant for the benefit of the generations to come. Many oak species don’t thrive in Colorado’s alkaline soils, but Bur Oak is a happy exception. It is also drought-tolerant once established, even in dry clay, and can handle city conditions quite well. Bur Oak’s strong wood and strong, almost right-angled branch connections resist breakage in wind and snow.
We refer to them as ‘smart trees’ because they are slow to leaf out in spring, escaping damage from late spring snowstorms. Bur oaks are rarely subject to disease or significant pests. The 6 to 12”-long, dark green, glossy leaves are deeply lobed and fall from the tree earlier than other oaks. The acorns are ¾ to 2” long, with their heads at least half buried in their striking fringed caps. With age, the tree develops attractive thick, rugged, deeply fissured bark and a magnificent domed crown. Bur Oak is rarely damaged by pests or diseases, and along with other oak trees, they are considered extremely valuable for providing ecosystem services. Doug Tallamy, ecologist and author of Bringing Nature Home, Nature’s Best Hope, The Living Landscape, and The Nature of Oaks, rates oaks at the top along with Willows.
It’s hard to find Bur Oak trees for sale in smaller sizes, as they’re usually only available as B&B (Ball & Burlap) specimens that have had 70 to 90% of their roots cut off, or in 15-gallon pots, both of which are too heavy for homeowners to install without professional help. They are also prohibitively expensive – around $350 plus installation – for many homeowners.
Our Bur Oaks are grown in 5-gallon pots and have been in our care for 2 years. They are only 4 to 5’tall, but they have complete root systems so they will begin growing immediately when planted in your landscape. We will sell the first 15 of them for $80 each, and the rest will be overwintered to sell next spring at a higher price.