Bur Oak – Tree Identification

Boulder Colorado and Rocky Mountain Region

Botanical name: Quercus macrocarpa
Family: Fagaceae (beech)

A.K.A. mossy-overcup oak, mossycup oak, white oak, blue oak and scrub oak.

  • The second part of the scientific name or specific epithet, macrocarpa means large seed or fruit and the bur oak produces the largest acorns (up to 2 inches in diameter) of all the oaks found in North America
  • Native.
  • Fully mature trees can grow massive 8 – 10′ diameter trunks with a huge open crown, that can be as wide as the tree is tall.
  • Reaches heights of 70 – 100′ and occasionally more.
  • They are slow growing trees, although, when they are young they can grow more than 12 inches a year in height and grow long tap roots  very quickly.
  • Lifespan is approximately 400 years.
  • Bur oak is a deciduous tree.
  • Simple leaves are broad and 6 – 10 inches in length with lobed margin.
  • Bur oak is monoecious.
  • Catkins are 4 – 6 inches in length.
  •  Trees produce acorns every 2-3 years.
  • It is drought and fire resistant.
  • Bur oaks fair well in urban environments.
  • Some damaging insects include oak webworm, oak skeletonizer, oakleaf caterpillar, oak lacebug, redhumped oakworm and June beetles.
  • Susceptible to (fungi)  Strumella canker, cotton root rot and Oak wilt – sometimes through rare root graphs with red oaks.
  • Hardiness Zones 3 – 8

Tree Identification Colorado Rocky Mountain Region

  Photographs of the oldest bur oak in Boulder, Colorado.

Boulder Tree Care – Boulder, Colorado

Bur Oak – Tree Identification was last modified: June 16th, 2016 by Boulder Tree Care