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© Ken Kneidel

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collage of White Oak and Bur Oak

White Oak (Quercus alba) vs. Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Updated July 24th, 2020

These two oaks of the white oak group are sometimes confused, but are relatively easy to tell apart by leaf, acorns, bark, and shape. Although they can co-occur on some sites, Bur Oak is more likely in flood-prone bottomlands, fire-prone savannas at the transition zone to prairie, on calcareous soils, or on extremely dry ridges, whereas white oak is more likely in mesic to slightly dry oak forests. These species are more likely to occur together in landscaping than in the wild.

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