(Photo Caption) Bur Oak in a Black Hills Canyon.
The Bur Oak is a variety of White Oak and in the Black Hills, the best Bur Oak are found in low-lying, moist, shady areas of the foothills. They represent only 1 or 2 percent of the timber stock in the Black Hills, but grow very well in the right conditions. The Black Hills are the westernmost range for the Bur Oak, which was once a very important species in the upper midwest because of its massive size and very strong, colorful wood. It was used for furniture, flooring, and cabinetry. Bur Oak is in decline in most of its native range because it does not sprout and grow through the sapling stage as readily as its competitor species. In the Black Hills, Bur Oak tend to disappear unless the Ponderosa Pines around them are removed through logging or fire. This is due to the faster growth rate of Ponderosas and their tendency to sprout more abundantly.
Bur Oak are very beneficial to wildlife. They provide excellend nesting areas and very large acorns. Bur Oak are named for their distinctive acorns, which have a rough coating, or burr, around the bottom part of the fruit. Another common name for Bur Oak is Mossycup Oak, also derived from this cup-shaped coating on the acorn.
(Photo Caption): Bur Oak close up.
Bur Oaks have very strong, deep roots and tough bark, which allow them to withstand fires, drought, heavy snow loads, and high winds once they're established. They're usually the oldest trees in a given area. Their enormous glossy leaves, copper color in the fall, and distinctive acorns add visual interest to our forest.
When Bur Oaks grow in open meadows without competition from other trees, they tend to fork extensively into a very wide, oval crown. The best Bur Oak sawlogs are found in groves where competition from neighboring trees force the Bur Oak to grow taller and straighter. Aker Woods Company promotes the growth of Bur Oak in the Black Hills with harvest methods which leave plenty of seed trees and good sprouting conditions.
(Photo Caption) The enormous acorn gives this tree its names: Bur Oak and Mossycup Oak.