Growing An Oak Tree

Growing an oak tree is a fun and easy project for people of all ages.  With a little time and patience, almost anyone can grow a small acorn seedling into a mighty oak.  The process can be personally rewarding not to mention highly beneficial for the environment. 

The materials you’ll need to grow an oak tree are simply an acorn and a 1-gallon pot filled with soil.

The germination rate for acorns is somewhat low, so collecting enough acorns will greatly increase your odds of success.  Collect several handfuls of fallen acorns after visually inspecting each one.  Throw away those with mold or insect bores.  Soak your acorns overnight in water, discarding any acorns that float to the top as they are most likely immature or damaged.

Depending upon which type of oak tree you are growing will dictate the next step of the process.  A white oak is ready to plant immediately after the soaking process, whereas a red oak will require another step called stratification before planting.  A simple internet search can explain the stratification process in greater detail, but it typically requires an 8-10 week period of placing the acorn in an airtight bag surrounded by damp sawdust or peat moss. 

You are now ready to plant your acorns.  Make sure your pot has at least 12 inches of soil and plant each acorn 1 inch deep.  You may plant several acorns together in a single pot.  Once the first leaves begin to grow it is time to transplant the seedling to a permanent location.  If you only have a single sapling, you can keep your oak tree indoors for up to four months in a bright, sunny location.

Young oak trees need care and attention until there are 5-6 feet tall.  Depending upon your location, many saplings can be in danger of being consumed by wildlife.  Placing a small cage – typically using chicken wire – will prevent your small tree from being consumed.  Regular watering is important as is caring for the soil.  Keep the surrounding soil free of weeds to ensure your oak is able to fully develop its root system.  Many experts recommend to not use fertilizer as it can adversely impact the tree’s trunk and branches.

A live oak tree can grow rapidly within the first year and may reach heights of up to 4 feet.  After that the rate of growth typically declines and may only grow at a rate of 12-14 inches per year. 

With continued care, your oak tree will provide years of enjoyment through its abundant shade and wildlife habitat!