Oak trees are more native to eastern states. My home in the Appalachian Mountains was covered in Oaks. Oakland, Maryland was named because of the huge forests of White, Black, Chestnut, Red, and so many other species of acorn producing trees. The mast crops were amazing and turkeys, deer, and the entire forest ecosystem revolved around these huge, ancient trees.
Montana is not “Oakless”. One species of Oak tree does quite well in our harsh environment. The Bur Oak is a great choice to add to your landscape. Many Montana towns encourage residents to plant this tree along thoroughfares and watersheds.
The Bur Oak is a transitional tree between open prairies and forests. The natural boundary for this oak is near Alzada, in SE Montana. Bur Oaks do well when planted in the open. They are fire and drought resistant and create wonderful wood products.
I recently wanted to plant a Memorial tree in my yard. My Father was a WW2 veteran, with 50 combat missions in a B-17. His life story is historical, and his legacy needs to live on. A tree that can live 1,000 years is a good choice.
My local greenhouse had several to pick from. I selected a sturdy and tall specimen, for $120. I planted this tree in an open area, where the future shade would help my lawn. The base was surrounded with pavers and wood chips. Pavers protect the tree trunk from needing weed whacking. They also support the wood chips which hold moisture. My Bur Oak is 12 feet tall and will grow a few feet annually.
Watering is important but once the oak gets going, it’s large tap root will water itself. The bark and branches are covered in a tough, thick, rough bark. The acorns that it will eventually produce are a wildlife treat. Bur Oak acorns are among the largest.
These hearty trees do well in areas where mining, oil spills, and pollution has occurred. Their sturdy structure allows them to survive strong winds and harsh weather. Their wide, thick canopy provides shade. The Fall leaves are great to compost for your garden.
If you are looking for a deciduous tree, that has great benefits and is unique, then a Bur Oak is a great choice.