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Grow your own oak tree!
You might have noticed, it’s been a banner year for acorns. Even the squirrels can’t keep up! If you are looking for a fun, easy project to teach your kids about the environment, why not try growing a few of those acorns into your very own oak tree?
Texas Arbor Day is coming up the 1st Friday of November, so we figured it’s the perfect time to grow a tree of your own!
In north Texas, we mainly see a handful of different oaks in the landscape. Bur, red, chinquapin, and live oak are the most commonly planted species.
Bur oak produce the largest acorn you’ll find. They can be as large as 2-inches with a large, fringed cap. Red oaks have a smaller acorn that is darker in color, while Chinquapin oak acorns are lighter in color. Live oaks produce one of the smallest acorns, and are skinny and dark brown.
Follow these steps and you’ll have an oak tree sprouting next spring:
- First, gather acorns as soon as they fall to the ground. If you notice any holes in the acorn, discard it.
- Soak the acorn in water for 24 hours. If the acorn sinks, it is viable to germinate. If it floats, it will not sprout.
a pot with soil we suggest a 1- or 2-gallon container with drain
holes. No special soil is needed, simply dig some from your yard from
the location you plan to plant your tree.
- Plant the acorn a few inches deep in the pot & cover with soil.
in the acorn & place it in a location where you can keep an eye on
it. Continue to water as the soil becomes dry throughout the fall and
- Acorns need a chilling period, called stratification, in
order to sprout. Stratification can be accomplished by setting your pot
outside & letting winter take its natural course. Or, you can keep
the acorns in your fridge over the winter, to simulate the cooling
- Once spring temperatures hit, watch & wait to see your acorn spout & send up its first leaves!
It is best to keep your new oak tree growing in its container for the
spring and summer and water it as needed. If you transplant it too soon
to the landscape, your tree may not have a large enough root system to
establish successfully, or it can easily become overwatered.
By the end of the summer, you should have a 12-18 inch tall oak
sapling that is ready to be planted into its final home. Make sure to
choose a planting location that is large enough for an oak since they
grow very large at maturity. To plant, dig a hole that is two times the
diameter of the container and place in the sapling in the hole as its
current depth. Backfill soil carefully around the tree, then mulch and
water in thoroughly.
We hope you enjoy tackling a simple green project with your family! Happy Texas Arbor Day!