First of all let me say that the anti-bot filter made it hard for ME!
Especially the "type the 6 digits or letters you see in the box" - I
couldn't see most of them!
Anyway, the question I have is this: I picked up ~15 acorns last October
from 2 oaks near my house and planted them in a flowerpot, somewhere mid
December I decided to dig around them and check for roots - by gently
testing whether the acorns were loose or not. Turns out that 7 of them
had rooted, of those 3 made it to oak seedlings which are now ~20cm tall
each and starting to leaf. The plants were outside throughout the winter
and until now with the exception of 10 days that I was away and brought
them in the house to avoid drying out (it was quite hot), now since I
put them back outside their leaves drooped. Originally I thought that
their leaves may be too heavy for them and that nature will take its
course, however last night I put them back in the house to shield from
very high winds and rain and in 24 hours their leaves have perked up
almost perpendicular to the stem.
Is this normal? Could it be caused by the cold that we are having this
week? Am I confusing them by alternating temperature between indoors and
I am attaching a photograph from last Saturday to illustrate what I
mean, the plant at the back has been the faster grower, I think I got
two species here, Q. robur (the red/brown coloured leaves) and Q.
A friend who also grew oaks years ago said "You're worrying too much,
just leave them outside - they look fine".
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David you say that your oak is 28 years old and in 'recent' years it's
dropped acorns. How 'recent' is 'recent'? We have oaks of at least 4
different types that would be less than 10 years old dropping acorns. Is
that type of oak slow to form and drop acorns or does that just apply to
oaks in your area?
It was 28 years old in 2004, the last time the page was updated. It is
now approaching 36 years.
It dropped acorns before 2004.
That is, by 2004 I had already picked up acorns, sprouted them, and
nursed them to saplings in 5 gallon cans. Given how long that takes and
the fact that I did not initially do anything with the acorns it
dropped, the tree may have started dropping acorns at 20 years.
My oak is a valley white oak (Quercus lobata). These are slow to mature
and then live 200 or more years. Some may even live 500 years. It is
not unusual for a mature, old valley white oak to have a trunk that is 2
yards (72 inches, 1.8 m) in diameter at chest height. Mine is "only" 21
inches (0.54 m) in diameter. While it is mature, it is still quite young.
My ash tree (Fraxinus uhdei) was a sapling when I planted it about 38
years ago. For an ash tree, it is not only mature but also quite old.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
Wow. That is slow! Or perhaps mine are just precocious trees - but the two
I am thinking of that are dropping acorns are both differerent types of oaks
so I dont' know how that would apply to both types - must og out and check
the other two types.
OK. I thought by slow to mature you must mean slow to start growing and thus
I was sure I'd read somewhere that in the UK oaks are 300 years in the
growing, 300 years in the living and then 300 years in the declining. I'd
be happy if we got 50 years growing, 50 years living and 50 years declining.
That'd see me out by a long number of years.
My herd of squirrels must be inefficient. Or maybe they prefer the acorns
and hickory nuts but in my yard maple seedlings come up so thickly that
attacking large swaths of property with a Stihl FS85 weed whacker is the
only solution. Same thing with ash and beech and holly seedlings. I love
having wooded property but the woods seem entirely too eager to eat the
house if I let my guard down.
Well given that I am extremely fond of this particular tree I did decide
to plant some and see what happens. Turns out that watching things grow
is far far more enjoyable than I ever imagined.
I have also planted some english yew seeds: picked the berries, cleaned
them, stored them in the fridge for 2 months and then planted. Nothing
has happened yet though, I hear that yews are a bit moody and take their
time, they might sprout or they might not. Next year I think I'll just
Thanks for the replies!
Unless it's a special variety that you can't find at a plant nursery
or you are growing a farm that you're leaving to your heirs planting
hardwood trees from seed is very silly, especially oak trees...
seedlings (1st 5 years) grow relatively fast, saplings (2nd 5 years)
slow down a lot, after that oak tree growth slows to a crawl... unless
you are rather young (teenager) you'll likely be very old or dead
before you will sit in its shade. I strongly suggest planting the
largest sapling you can afford... the typical 10 year old oak tree
sapling will be about 8'tall and 1 1/2" caliper... and you'll still
need to wait like thirty more years before you can sit in its shade.
Planting an acorn you lose ten years of growth and really gain
nothing... nurserys sell oak tree saplings for very cheap... and odds
are strong that the first winter critters will dig up and eat your
acorns, all of them.
I can sit in the shade of at least 2 of our oaks that are about 10 years
old. We couldn't get a big party sheltered but certainly we two can sit in
I strongly suggest planting the
That advice is quite the reverse to my experience and that of most gardeners
I know. Planting tube stock is far better in terms of producing quick and
In fact just recently in this ng there was advice given to someone about
planting a hedge. Those who I'd rate as better gardeners all told the
person to plant small plants rather than plants in '5 gallon' containers.
the typical 10 year old oak tree
Mine would be much bigger than that - more like 15 ft or even more.
and you'll still
Actually I've seen that as being a Japanese poem (don't expect me to get the
"A man truly understands the meaning of life when he plants a shade tree
under which he knows he will not sit."
aother I like is:
"The morning glory twines around the well bucket and so I lack water".
"The morning glory twines around the well bucket and so I lack water".
The morning glory!
It has taken the well bucket,
I must seek elsewhere for water.
- Kaga no Chiyo
"Kaga no Chiyo, considered one of the foremost women haiku poets, began
writing at the age of seven. She studied under two haiku masters who had
themselves apprenticed with the great poet, Basho.... In 1755, Chiyo
became a Buddhist nun -- not, she said, in order to renounce the world,
but as a way 'to teach her heart to be like the clear water which flows
night and day.'"
Of course I do. If I'm lucky enough to beat the parrots to them. They eat
most of the acorns and also decimate the pine cones and the smaller nut like
growths on the upright piney Italian looking ugly things.
Every Spring I spend many hours pulling out
You haven't got a oak infestation, you have a parrot deficit.
My hosta beds look like some sort of
Sounds like you have an insufficient squirrels population too.
I'd guess that half of the
That might work where you live, but you would be the exception rather than
the rule. We have to make sure we water them (it's way too dry for young
oaks to survive without that), put tree guards aorund them when they are
small (or the hares eat them), and make sure they are well protected by
stock proof fences (or the kangaroos decimate them or the cows eat them).
That is just too restrictive a description.
Oaks make superb trees in farmland even in dry and hot locations if and only
if, they can get their roots down. Making sure they can do that takes and
effort, but it's worth it.
I could rave on about the oaks trees on farmland round Tumut in NSW where
the temps regularly get over 40degrees C for long runs of time in summer.
I've been gobbsmacked each time I visit that area at the foresight of the
farmers who planted so many of these trees and obviously had to protect them
from stock and tough conditions for enough time for them to prosper. It was
seeing these stunning big Oaks in an area where they supposeldy wouldn't
thrive, but where they gave such beauty and stock shelter from searing sun
that inspired us to grow and plant them here. Our conditions are less harsh
than the heat and dry of Tumut.
John my also not be paying attention to the difference between being in
a forest or forest-edge-like environment (where trees will sprout and
grow on their own easily) and being in a non-forested environment.
Trees, and lack of trees, affect the environment they are in, (and the
microclimate near them.) If you get a big enough block of oaks (or mixed
woods) going, (ie, go beyond windbreaks to a woodlot) they might well
reach a point of self-seeding successfully; or really fat parrots.
I don't know how it's going, but there was some notable success decades
ago with planting trees (probably not oaks) on the edge of the sahara
desert as a means of reversing its spread, and altering the microclimate
to a more hospitable one for growing other things, not having the soil
blow away, etc. "great green wall" appears to be a
continuation/expansion of that idea. The initial trees are, naturally,
going to need some support/care.
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
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