Remarkable Trees of Virginia: Elkton bur oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Elkton Bur Oak

Last week we were able to take a Remarkable Trees of Virginia trip.  Between increasingly busy schedules on the part of our kids (oh my!) and high gas prices, our adventures have become far less frequent, so visiting a remarkable tree feels like a privilege.

Oaks are our favorite trees to visit, and this bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is special for many reasons including the fact that this species of oak is rare in Virginia.  The Elkton bur oak is the largest of its species in Virginia.  No one is sure of the tree’s age, but it is believed to be older than the municipal building it stands in front of, a home that was built in 1840 and was used as a hospital during the Civil War.

The bur oak’s acorns are very large, and I was sorry that we weren’t visiting at a time when they would be covering the ground beneath it.  I did gather up lots of the extra large fringed caps.  A gentleman from Richmond visits the tree each year to collect the acorns and grow them into seedlings which he sells all over the country.  Apparently, the way to tell whether or not an acorn has been hollowed out by weevil larvae is to drop it in a bucket of water.  Those that float should be tossed out.  Only the acorns that sink are viable.  At the time that Remarkable Trees of Virginia was published, there was ivy growing up the tree’s trunk and into it’s branches.  Thanks to a grant, it has since been safely removed.

I’ll always remember this tree because it was the first remarkable tree that we’ve visited since Silas started walking.  It was so cute to watch his funny little baby walk as he explored with the rest of the kids.  I recently purchased a cute little acorn t-shirt for Si, and had him dressed in it for the occasion (and right now there’s a giveaway going on along with a coupon code for the shop where I bought it.)


  1. Amylynn says:

    Thank You for the lovely information on the tree. We happened to stumble upon the tree this past weekend, and had no idea what type of Oak it was. We also gathered up some acorns of the Burr/ Bur/ Mossy Oak and are hoping to sprout them. We also found out that if you take a damp paper towel and put it in a zip lock bag put int he regrigerator for a few days and wait for it to sprout. We only found about 10/15 acorns so we are hoping that we can get a few to sprout. Did you get any to sprout?

  2. Kris says:

    I love your tree posts. And I wonder ig Anne Marie would share about the cottonwood in Nebraska, since I live here. :)
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful trees.

  3. Stunning tree. Here in the NW we are blessed with tall evergreens — lots of Douglas Fir — but not many ancient oaks. What a wonderful day your children must have had!

    Blessings, ~Lisa

  4. Sharron says:

    I love seeing your tree posts! I was hoping to find a similar book for Indiana, but only found a list with no pictures. We did look for one, but there were several big ones in the area, so we really didn’t know if we found the exact one or not. It was sort of fun anyway, except the weather was a little too cold for the girls to really enjoy it. Maybe we’ll do better next time.

  5. Ellen says:

    I love these remarkable tree posts. The man who sends out the seedlings is like passing on a little bit of history and hope for the future. How fun.

  6. What an amazing tree! I love seeing all the kids in front of it.

  7. These are my fav posts :) You make me miss Virginia. Where was this tree located? It looks like another military base?

    • Ginny says:

      This one’s right in the middle of Elkton in front of the Municipal building. There’s a big fenced tennis court next to it. It was sort of hard to get pictures–trying not to include the McDonald’s arches, fire hydrant, etc. etc. in the photos!

  8. Wendy says:

    That can’t be Silas! Good to see him getting in on the remarkable trees!

  9. annita says:

    Look at the little man hugging the tree! Oh! I love trees. I feel sick when we have to remove one, which we did last year due to a tree that was just too close to our pool. I actually felt weepy. Happy Sunday! +JMJ+

  10. Christine says:

    What a lovely day out!

  11. kyndale says:

    Great history lessons there!

  12. Jacq says:

    I always look forward to your tree posts :)
    Thank you!

  13. Patricia says:

    I LOVE Merry Hall – just can’t put it down – but want to put it down because I don’t want it to be over… I know that Beverly Nichols wrote two more in the Merry Hall series and since I took this one out of the library I was going to take them all out – however (dot-dot-dot) I love his writing so much I’m searching the internet long and far to get “vintage” copies of all three – for these are savers, to be read over again in a couple of years…. glad to see someone else is reading it… LOVE Oldfield!

  14. Anne Marie says:

    I like your tree posts. Been thinking I should send you a photo of our neighbor’s tree which is the second tallest/oldest Cottonwood in the state of Nebraska.

  15. Katerina says:

    What a beautiful children you have!!!!! I love your photographs! Greetings from the Czech republic:-)

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