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Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.
Robert A. Heinlein

Bur Oak 'Top Gun' Bur Oak 'Admiration' Hybrid oak 'Majestic Skies' Northern Pin Oak 'Shooting Star' Northern Pin Oak

Black Walnut Butternut

Oak & Walnut

Quercus & Juglans

These two species are lumped together for a variety of reasons:


The oaks are broadly divided into "White Oaks" and "Red Oaks" It doesn't help that the archtypical example of each are White Oak and Red Oak.

The white oaks (note the 's') have round lobed leaves. Their acorns can germinate as soon as they hit the ground. Bur Oak and White Oak are the two I've run into locally. Fall colour in a good year is a dusty dark red. In a bad year, dishwater.

The red oaks have points on the lobes. Aside from the colour they look very goth. Red oaks often have spectacular fall colour.

White Oak

Fall colour is a wine red. Nuts are up to an inch in diameter. Squirrels and blue jays love the acorns. This may be a feature or not. Does not tolerate wet soils. Does not transplant well field grown due to taproot.

Bur Oak

This one is almost a native. Currently found in creek valleys in southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and a bit in SE Alberta. Gets to be large: up to 80 feet high, and the same wide. This means that one tree can not only shade your front yard, but also the street, and the neighbours on either side.

Bur oak is the best one for alkaline soils, actually does best in a somewhat alkaline soil. It tolerates mildly acid soils. It is often used as a root stock for fancier oaks.

Does NOT like salt.

More info: https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-plant-descriptions/bur-oak

'Top Gun' Bur Oak. This is a columnar version that typically remains 4 times as tall as it is wide. Eventually will get to 65 feet tall x 15 feet wide.

'Admiration' hybrid oak.

This is a natural hybrid probably of white oak and swamp oak. Hardy to zone 2. Pyramidal crown. Shaggy bark. Leaves turn golden in fall, fading to a hot chocolate red/brown. Leaves can persist all winter on the tree.

Red oaks

Northern Red Oak

According to the Morden Arboretum, this oak should do well here. Zone 3, tolerates clay, alkaline soils. Mature height 60-75 feet. Tolerates some soil salt, acid soils. Pink leaves at bud break, russet to red in fall. One of the faster growing oaks. Haven't seen it sold here. Native to American midwest.

'Shooting Star' Northern Pin Oak

Leaves emerge brick red in spring. In fall they return to that brick red in fall. Grey bark and silver branches. 30-40 feet tall, 20+ feet wide. Tried one here in my demo garden. Didn't do well. I think it wants more water.

'Majestic Skies' Northern Pin Oak

Unlike many trees with 'sky' as part of the name, this is NOT one of the skinny ones. It does get big, however. 60 feet tall by 45 wide. Burgundy fall colour.


There are two members of this family that grow here.

Black Walnut

We are right at the edge of the zone for this one. Get your seed from a tree that grows in a cold area. This is a slow growing tree with really big pinnate leaves. The leaves are toxic to a lot of plants, and to horses. Takes 20 years to get nuts.

The nuts come in a greenish yellow rind about the size of a pool ball. Getting the nut out of the rind is easy: Grab with the palms of your hands and twist. Your hands will be black and blue for a week or so after from a pigment in the rind. Maybe wear gloves. The nuts are VERY hard, but are easier to open after a few weeks drying. They are smaller than the classic English walnut but have a stronger flavour.


Butternuts have better cold tolerance. Superficially the trees are very similar looking. Butternuts are larger, and shaped more like footballs.

Leaf -- Nuts

(# plants)
American Americana #2 Std pot (6 qt) 6 12-24 in. $30.00
Last Update: 2020-Jan-23

Leaf -- Oak

(# plants)
Oak, Admiration #10 Std pot (30 qt) 8 5-6 ft. $140.00
Oak, Admiration #8 Std pot (24 qt) 10 7-8 ft. $90.00
Oak, Bur Bare Root Seedling 100 12-12 in. $5.25
Last Update: 2020-Jan-23

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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.