Recommendations for a successful acorn planting project:
1. Wait until most of the acorns are dropping from the tree before collection. Early released acorns may be aborts due to insect damage or drought.
2. Remember that an array of wildlife will be seeking the acorns due to their high carbohydrate content, so don’t wait too long for collection.
3. Over-collect, then visually inspect them and discard the rejects. Place the rest in a bucket of water. Discard those that float to the top because floaters indicate internal damage – a sure sign they are not viable (won’t grow).
4. White oak acorns can be planted immediately. Red oak acorns must undergo a stratification period (cold storage). Lightly wrap red oak acorns in moist paper towel and store in an unsealed zip lock bag. Place in cold storage for a minimum of eight weeks. Check periodically to make sure the towel remains damp but not soaked.
5. Plant them in full sun, two to three times the depth of the seed, varying this as you go. Water the seedbed after planting. You may have to cover the seedbed with chicken wire to prevent squirrels and other rodents from
digging them up.
6. Mulching will help conserve soil moisture.
7. Lightly water periodically through the winter as needed.
8. If the seedlings are to be transplanted, first allow them to completely finish the growing season and undergo two to three heavy frosts. This will assure dormancy and make transplanting more successful.
For more information on growing oak and other seedlings from seed, David Mercker, Forestry Specialist with the University of Tennessee in Jackson, recommends the U.S. Forest Service Woody Plant Seed Manual, which can be found online at: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/
Hello fellow gardeners... Welcome to our blog site!