Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

We have two beautiful oak trees in our yard.

The one nearest the house produces scads of acorns.

These aren't the big kind, but instead almost look like mostly cap and very little acorn body.

Last fall and winter, I raked up all the fallen leaves...

...and put them in a wire cage next to the house.

The location was just temporary (since we don't have an official compost pile yet), but corralling the yard waste in this spot was very convenient.

Early last month, I noticed some baby oaks growing in the sideyard.

And not just on the ground. Three baby oaks were sprouting straight out of the leaf pile.




So I pulled together some pots and potting soil...

...and carefully removed the seedlings.

Unfortunately, not always successfully.

I got four successfully transplanted.

A few days later we completely emptied the leaf bin...

...and carted away the contents.

During this process, I found yet two more seedlings, which I transplanted.

Of the six seedlings I transplanted, three survived. Before winter, I'll re-pot them into five-gallon containers.

It sure would be nice to have young oaks saplings we can transplant in a few years. I may deliberately plant some acorns this fall and see what happens. After all, mighty oaks from little acorns grow.


  1. I have a beautiful oak tree in my back yard. I found the three-leaf seedling growing in a mow zone at a camp site we were at. I carefully dug it up, brought it home and planted it in the back yard. I guarded it from hubby and his mower/weed eater !! 20 yrs later we sit in its shade. I tell everyone I grew it from three little leaves.

  2. I'm surprised you didn't choose to plant some winter hardy nut trees instead.

  3. 40 years ago I planted 3 volunteer maple trees at a house we were renting. I have used Google maps to visit the house back in Illinois and the one you can see from street view is now about 40 ft tall and provides a lot of shade for the present owners. Kinda does your heart good to see that.

  4. There are tons of these in my yard. The lawnmower doesn't always cut the grass short enough to kill seedlings, so periodically I take an old spoon and dig them up until the back hurts. I would love to share if you weren't so far away. Deer, turkeys and squirrels try their best to eat them all(acorns), but I wish the trees were not in the yard but in the woods. Lots of debris. Neverending burn pile.

    We have a lot of storms and straight line winds and tornadoes. It's the oaks that most often are pictured in the news splitting somebody's house in two. I love them, especially white oaks which are my favorite tree, but oaks have very shallow roots which is why they blow over so often.
    They seem to do better interplanted with other trees which have deeper roots. All those roots intertwine and help hold each other up. My place has a lot of hills too, which seems to help shelter them better than flat pasture land. Still, I lost a large stand of white oaks on a hill that I loved during one tornado so nothings perfect.

    You've mentioned these trees before and how glad you are to have them on your place. I hope your plan for them works out well. They can't be beat for shade. They grow tall enough that they can shield buildings from sun without being planted dangerously close. I think your acorn experiment will work just fine.

  5. I currently have 23 pecan trees coming up in my herb bed that were "planted" by squirrels. Too large for me to pull up so am waiting for my husband to dig them up to transplant at the back of our farm for both our use & the wildlife.

  6. Just don't plant or nurture trees close to the house. A house in the shade is nice until the "shade" falls on the house! I nurtured a cute little seedling. Then, it became too big for me to cut. Just think, you could plant those around your property.

  7. When I was a kid, in the Summer I would be gone all day and I would eat whatever I could find, berries, tree fruits, some liberated garden edibles and even businesses that threw food away (doughnuts, chips and grocery store produce). I enjoyed and embraced my urban foraging skills and do till this day. I have planted fruit and nut trees in the wild. Not always successfully. I still can spot a tree with ripe fruit overhanging into the public right of way where ever I go. Right now blackberries are ripe everywhere and I am enjoying them by the handfuls.

  8. We planted an acorn from a bur oak tree from a previous residence. The grow 3-4 feet a year. 10 years later at our place in SW Idaho it is now 30' tall and 20 feet wide. Beautiful specimen.