Carolinian
and Deciduous Forest Trees

of Southern Ontario

Bur Oak
Quercus Macrocarpa

Location in Ontario:
Bur Oak grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region and northward.


Huge Bur Oak, Holiday Beach Conservation Area,Essex County
 

Genus Quercus: The ten Oaks of Southern Ontario are divided into two categories. Red Oaks have lobed leaves which are pointed (Black, Hill's, Pin, Red, Shumard). White Oaks have leaves with rounded lobes (Bur, White, Swamp White), or simple leaves with sharp teeth (Chinquapin and Dwarf Chinquapin). Often, Oak leaves stay on the tree over winter. Oak leaves on the ground are slow to decay, as this is a survival strategy to prevent the growth of other plants nearby. Oak seeds are acorns; a one-seeded nut with a tough shell and a scaly cup which attaches to the tree. Oaks are monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Oak wood is  favoured for flooring and furniture.

TREE FACT: There's an old saying in reference to the order of leaves coming out in the spring and giving a prediction of the upcoming summer weather:
Ash before Oak, you get a soak,
Oak before Ash, you get a splash.


8 Oaks of University of Guelph Arboretum
L to R: Shumard, Hill's, Bur, Chinquapin, Dwarf Chinquapin, Red, Swamp White, White. Missing: Black Oak and Pin Oak


Oak Savanna, Turkey Point Provincial Park

Habitat: Bur Oak likes moist bottomlands or limestone soils.

Landscape Use: Oaks are beautiful trees with good fall colours. Size ranges from medium to large,  except for Dwarf Chinquapin Oak which is shrub-like. Some species, like White Oak, are slow growing, while others like Red Oak have faster growth. A lot of space is needed for wide spreading branches, and clean-up of acorns is needed. Oak leaves do not decay readily and will most likely also require clean-up.

Leaves: The leaves have rounded lobes in varying patterns, often broad at the top and narrow at the bottom. Often, Oak leaves stay on the tree over winter. Oak leaves on the ground are slow to decay. This is a survival strategy to prevent the growth of other plants nearby.

FALL COLOUR WATCH: red

Flowers: Oaks are monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Flowers are small. Pollen flowers are in catkins, while seed flowers occur in small clusters.

Fruit: Oak seeds are acorns; a one-seeded nut with a tough shell. On top of the acorn is a scaly cup which attaches to the tree. Bur Oak has good seed crops every 2 to 3 years, after 35 years of growth.

Bark: The bark has thick, dark gray scales.

Size: This is a medium tree reaching 25 m in height.

Wood: Oak wood is hard and heavy with a beautiful grain. It is used for furniture and flooring.
Specific gravity: 0.64
Janka Hardness: 1370 lb
Wood Comparison Chart


Bur Oak, University of Guelph Arboretum

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