Can I just sprout acorns in the ground??

catherinet(5 IN)November 2, 2006

Hi all,

I know there are all sorts of fancy ways to sprout acorns inside.......but can't I just drop them into the ground somewhere, and they'll grow?? And then in a year or 2, I can transplant them? Thanks.

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catherinet(5 IN)

Oops.....I was thinking I was on the tree forum. Sorry. But I'm sure you all can give me some help here too.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 9:31AM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

The squirels do it all the time.

1 Like    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 10:46AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

That's exactly what I was thinking waplummer! Maybe our seed-sprouting techniques are a bit of over-thinking? :)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 4:55PM
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Problem with just dropping in ground is when you dig up. If longer than a year after sprouting you may break the taproot. Bye-bye tree. It is better to either put acorns in a deep box and cover with soil and as they sprout remove and plant in a pot or plant in pots to start with.

A hint I read which makes sense is to put the pots on a bench that will allow the hole in the bottom to be exposed to air. The air contact causes the root to do one of two things. Curve around in the pot or self prune the root which sends out feeder roots. Making additonal feeder roots should make for a stronger tree.

1 Like    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 9:11PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

Catherinet, could,nt you plant several acorns where you want your tree than pull up all but one. Every spring i have to go through my flowerbeds pulling up oak seedlings. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 11:50PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks I need to worry about them freezing in pots outside during the winter in zone 5?

Thanks oakleif......that's a very sensible suggestion!
My problem around here is so many bunnies and deer, and I would have to put chickenwire around every place that I put one in the ground.....but I guess in the end, that's no more work than growing them in pots and then transplanting them, because I'll still have to protect them for a long time.
Unfortunately, I had 2 big containers of acorns, and I must not have dried them well enough, because they have lots of mold all over them. Do you think they'd still be okay?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 7:43AM
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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

You can't leave them in pots outside during the winter unless you dig a hole and sink the pots into the ground. Freezing in a pot will kill the seed.

You can sow outdoors in the ground now and expect to lose some to squirrels or you can moist stratify the seeds over the winter and sow in pots in the spring. To moist stratify, store the acorns in moist vermiculite in baggies in the fridge. Ideally, acorns should be sown immediately after collection or stored moist. Germination will be reduced if they are stored dry.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 12:10AM
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Well if my backyard is anything to go by, all you have to do is drop them ON the ground for them to take root. I wouldn't advise trying to transplant, for once they take root, they are a b*t*h to get out. If you know where you want the oak trees to grow, just drop a few in that area (to allow for squirrels stealing) and then pull out the seedlings you don't want in the spring. Have fun!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 1:01PM
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I'd wait till the seedlings begin to shade one another before thinning. Deer have a habit of making small oak saplings disappear and they will surely do thining on their own.If you wait until the trees are over four or five feet tall before selecting out the most vigorous ones,they will have grown past the most vunerable stage.Oaks take at least five years to get going so I never disturb oaks or hickories seedling ,for that matter.They are part of a future forest I don't want to screw around with.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 11:14PM
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I must be some sort of freak, since too plentiful acorns start to grow even in the carpet of my boat. Oak saplings or just a bursting acorn ready to grow can be moved succesfully and I've done it, to give the orphans a life away from under a GIANT Oak tree shade at my lake.

Perhaps a person can't dig up a well established Oak sapling with a big tap root, and I'll never know... but you CAN at least start Oak trees easy as growing petunias or convincing a yellow jacket colony it didn't hurt a bit when they attacked.

I've been reading these GW links for a few months, and I can't now properly speak all the Latin names of plants because to me a plant shouldn't be called "phoxliogia excremental" when it's just phlox in some sort ot common name and cultivar.

You want to grow Oak trees? There are many, many types of Oaks but each year I have to fight off Oak trees just TRYING to grow all by themselves.. They come from acorns that sprout by the hundreds under a GIANT old oak tree every Spring and we just mow them down like weeds.

The bursting acorns WILL soon grow however, if you want to plant them. I just don't know if you can move an oak after it's set deep roots. It's sure easy however to keep an anxious exploding acorn and watch it turn into a tree after you plant it. I just dig a hole and put it into vermiculite and VOILA! Doing absolutely NOTHING with a fallen acorn seems to work even better, but they fall where I don't need another giant Oak and those saplings would soon die in the shade anyway.

And besides... how silly would I look someday with an oak tree growing in the carpet of my boat?


    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 4:25PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

I guess you could use the boat oak as a mast.... ;-)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 11:43AM
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watch out for squirrels. I planted hundreds of acorns this past autumn in straight rows. This was great for the squirrels - they dug up nearly every virile acorn. I also transplanted some 1yr old saplings that I grew from acorn last year - their taproots are nearly 12" long while the tree is only 4" tall. not easy to dig out.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 9:55AM
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To: catherinet ...... the best way to progogate acorns is as Mother Nature does it ... in the ground ... except for the squirrels. It's a numbers game ... if you plant 1000 in any given spot, you will be lucky to get 10% that the squirrels don't move. But, there is a bonus ... the squirrels don't eat all of the ones that they move and you will find seedling growing "Everywhere" but where you originally wanted them. If you're only planting a few acorns ... cover the planting area with chicken wire to deter the squirrels from digging them up ... and they don't like moth balls, either. As far as digging them up, as seedlings ... YOU MUST ... do it before they are 12 inches tall to have a real success. The tap root grows 2 to 4 times faster than does the stem and leaves above the ground. Thus, the tap root on a 6 inch seedling could be (depending on the soil) between 12 and 24 inches down in the ground. I try to dig my "lost" seedlings before they reach 6 inches in height ... and pot them immediately ... and then move them to a new location later. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 9:02AM
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catherinet, how did it go? What was your success rate?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2014 at 6:48PM
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