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How to Grow Burr Oak Trees From Seed

Burr (or bur) oak trees can reach a height and width greater than 100 feet. Even the limbs, leaves and acorns of the burr oak tree are huge. The acorn can be wider than 1 inch and is topped with what looks like a burr. The wide canopy of burr oak makes it an excellent shade tree. You can grow burr oak trees from acorns to start your own shade oasis, but it will take time because burr oak is a slow grower. The tree is sold commercially as white oak.

Collect acorns that have fallen from a burr oak tree between August and November. If you see more acorns in the tree than on the ground, come back in a week to increase the odds of collecting viable acorns from a larger supply. Collect at least a dozen acorns from the ground.

Discard acorns that have holes, rot, mold or cracks. Place the acorns in a container of water. Toss out any acorns that float because they are hallow. The acorns that sink to the bottom are viable acorns; remove them from the container.

Choose a well-drained, sunny location to plant the acorns. Till the soil down to a depth of at least 10 inches. Use a garden rake to break clumps and remove rocks.

Cover the area with 2 to 3 inches of organic matter, like compost or leaf mold, and work it into the soil with a shovel or rake.

Plant the acorns by pushing them into the amended soil about 1/2 inch, then smooth over the hole.

Water thoroughly after planting and continue to water into fall every seven to 10 days if there is no rainfall. Sprouts should appear in two to three weeks.


If you cannot plant the burr oak acorns right away, place the clean acorns in a plastic bag with moist sawdust or sphagnum moss. Check the sawdust or sphagnum moss about every two weeks to ensure that it remains moist, but not wet. Store burr oak acorns in the refrigerator for up to six months.

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