Q & A: Planting Acorns

I’ve been admiring some native oaks recently and thinking about starting some from seed to make a grove at the back of my yard. Is there any special trick to sprouting acorns? — MJ, S.C.

Answer: Germinating acorns is fairly easy. The key is to gather them soon after they fall and plant them right away:

•  Gather acorns as soon as they fall or directly from branches once the nuts detach readily from the cups.
   Don’t choose any with obvious weevil damage.
•  Keep the viable nuts in a cool, humid place, out of direct sun, until you plant them. (Don’t delay
   long—germination rates delcline within days of shedding.)
•  Bury the acorns in the ground shallowly on their sides. If you start them in pots, choose deep pots and barely
   cover the nuts, so the taproots will have lots of space as they grow downward.

Keep young trees watered, mulched, and free of competing grasses for their first few seasons.

Read more about oak trees

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