Growing a White Oak From Acorns - How To
I remember chatting with a friend on facebook, about how I have always wanted to grow an oak (or two) and plant it in my front yard. Not only because of the magickal aspects of these mighty trees, or just because of their beauty, but because there used to be a huge oak in our front yard and I miss it.
Sadly, there have not been very many oaks in the Seattle area for a very long time. It's a rare occasion when I will see one or drive by one. The best I can find when I research the subject, is that they were wiped out through "de-fertilizing" methods and a strong sensitivity to pesticides. This is just sad to me, as they are such wonderful and life giving trees, and they are just another victim of human experiments.
It was to my surprise that my friend let me know that she could send me some oak acorns from near her home close to Pittsburg. I was super excited to learn that she had some fresh seeds around her area, and I couldn't thank her enough when they finally made it to me safely in the mail. I was even more anxious to get started in growing them, as I saw that one of them had already started sprouting on the way through the mail.
After spending some intense time searching for the best way and time to plant my little acorns, I gathered together my seed starting kit, a small pot for future transplant and some distilled water.
I planted the acorn on it's side, as per the directions of numerous sites. I was lucky that the acorns arrived to me at the perfect planting time (spring) for our region. I made sure that the soil around the little seed was never too dry. White Oaks are generally found near marshes, bogs and other wet areas. This means that in order to keep those babies growing well, you want to make sure they have plenty of water. They really know how to drink it up!
I planted two acorns, using a light soil from my local nursery. It has little phosphorus stones, a bit of sand and a neutral ph balance. Nothing fancy!
After about two weeks of daily watering everyday, I finally saw a little sprout coming from one of my acorns. This was an exciting day, and from then on I made sure to check the sproutling twice a day for it's water needs. On most days it was fine with one watering. On other days it needed more juice.
Once the seedling was about 3.5 inches tall and looked healthy, I transplanted it to a larger pot. Now this is the tricky part, because you don't want to shock your roots when you move your baby oak.
I used some soil from my front yard, as this would be it's future nesting environment. It is rich in clay, soil and lime, but it's very airy and not to packed. The little oak looked like it went through a bit of confusion within the first week of transplanting, but then found it's strength again after the second and third week. At this point I placed it in front of a window that gets regular sunlight every afternoon as well as shade. These oaks appear to prefer indirect sunlight for most of their diet, though they get a little extra growth spurt from some direct sunlight.
After another few weeks, once the summer had rolled in, I started placing the little oak outside in the warm afternoons. Though I found that it's best to be carefully on overly hot days. Oaks prefer cold climates to hot ones, even though they can tolerate hot days. Normal Seattle summers are fine for oaks, as they don't get much warmer then 75 on an average day. It's the days that are 80+ that you want to beware of. At least until your oak has developed into a strong sapling.
Now that my little oak is a little over 3 months old, it is looking strong, healthy and vibrant. I'm hoping we can keep things going in that direction.
The best information I can find says that it should take a few years before my little oak will be big enough for planting in it's permanent home in our front yard. Though I don't mind. Being able to have such a majestic, strong and beautiful tree in our front yard will be all the reward I need.
Have you had any experiences with planting or growing oaks? I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments section =)