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Illinois Native Plant Guide - Bur Oak - Pages 114-115

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Bur Oak
Quercus macrocarpa

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

Prefers moist soil and is drought tolerant. Species tolerates moderate dormant-season flooding.

Wildlife Value

Acorns of this species are eaten by squirrels, wood ducks, deer, rabbit, and mice. Also used as cover and for nesting sites.


Planted in shelter belts for wind erosion control. Provides upland slope buffer stabilization.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • Limited availability from commercial vendors.
  • Seed must be stored moist for a short time only. Seed germination is improved by stratification. Seeds germinate readily at most temperatures if protected from grubs and other depredation. Seeds may die if moisture falls below 20 - 22%.
  • Seedlings develop a deep tap root and extensive lateral roots, making the species difficult to transplant, though bag or pot-grown trees can readily be transplanted.
  • Best success has been observed with small bare root seedlings which require watering to reduce transplant shock.
  • Fall planting works best.

Bur Oak
Quercus macrocarpa

Mature HeightBur Oak
60-70 feet

Plant Type
Deciduous tree

Indicator Status
Facultative (-)

Not available

Nutrient Load Tolerance
Low to high

Salt Tolerance

Siltation Tolerance
Low to moderate

Flowering Color and Time
April to May

Light Preference
Full sun
Not shade tolerant

Seeding Rate
Not applicable

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