The Mighty Oak

oak

It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve been neglecting my blog, so I’m going to try hard to get back into it.  A few weeks ago, Hubby, Junior and I went down to visit my grandparents.  As noted before I had been on the hunt for some trees that could find a new home in my yard.  My grandfather climbed up onto his old yard tractor, gave us a tour of his garden, insisting I take a basket of beans and potatoes home with me, and we soon found ourselves wandering the property in search of seedlings.  Sumac, Maple and some oak seedlings soon filled the bucket of his tractor.

When we got home, Hubby and I planted the oak trees first and chose the prime spot, of the middle of our yard, for a foot tall seedling.  I’m hoping that one day it will grow to be a mighty oak, and will shade our yard in all hours of the day and be a host for birds and squirrels.

This past weekend Hubby and I took Junior to visit Hubby’s grandparents who live over 6 hours away. They haven’t met Junior other than in social media posts and pictures so it was a great visit where all branches of the family came to meet our little man. Hubby’s aunt and uncle who hosted us during our visit took us on a tour of the city which included a short walk to a long forgotten lookout over the city. The lookout itself was overgrown, and a crumbling cement wall was all that was left of what must have been a popular place for locals and tourists alike. Trees, including many oak, towered over the hills obliterating any hope of a view, but the walk was still relaxing.  Since Junior had fallen asleep in the car, Hubby found himself carrying the car seat, and when walking back to the car, an acorn, fell from an oak tree, bounced on the hard packed earth and into the car seat with Junior.  We pocketed that acorn, along with a few extra and will try to plant them.  Soon our yard will be filled with trees with history of their own to tell.

I’ll let you know how it goes with Junior’s acorns.

How to Grow an Oak from an Acorn

1. Collect acorns in early autumn. Acorns are best harvested in the early-to-mid autumn before they have fallen from the tree. Choose acorns that are free of worms, holes, and fungus. Suitable acorns should be brownish with slight tinges of green remaining, though the appearance of acorns can vary based on the type of oak tree they come from. A good general rule is that acorns are ready for picking when they can be removed from the cap without tearing them.

2. Perform a “float test.” Put the acorns that you’ve harvested in a bucket of water. Allow the acorns to settle a minute or two. Discard any acorns that float – these acorns are bad.

3. Hibernate the remaining acorns. Take the “good” acorns out of the water and dry them off. Place them in a large zipper bag with damp sawdust, vermiculite, peat mix, or another growth medium that can hold moisture. Put the bag in the fridge for a month and a half or longer – as long as is needed to germinate the new oak.

4. Keep an eye on the growth of your acorns. Even when stored in the refrigerator, most acorns will begin to germinate in the presence of moisture. The root end may begin to crack through the shell around early December (late fall, early winter). Whether or not the root has cracked through, the acorn is ready to be planted after about 40-45 days of storage.

5. Plant each acorn in a pot or container. Obtain fairly small 2 inch (5cm) diameter gardening pots (or, if you prefer, large styrofoam cups or milk cartons), for your plants. Fill these with a good quality potting soil (some sources also recommend adding milled sphagnum moss). For watering purposes, leave about an inch of space at the top. Plant your acorn just below the surface with the root facing down.

6. Water your seedling. Water your plant until water comes out of the holes at the bottom of its container. In the coming weeks, water frequently, never allowing the soil to dry out. In this stage of their life, keep your seedlings indoors. Place them on a southern windowsill, where they can absorb the winter sun. You may not notice rapid above-ground growth right away. This is because, during the first stage of its life, the plant is developing its taproot below the surface of the dirt.

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