Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Supercharged oaks!

(Click on image to enlarge)
I planted 3 English oak (Quercus robur) acorns VERY late - July 16.  The acorns had been in my fridge since last fall.  They germinated about August 1 - or at least that's when the sent their first shoots up out of the soil.  In other words, the growing season was for all intents and purposes over by the time these even saw the sun for the first time.

Considering that they only get about 1/3 of a day of full sun, and that with the exception of a couple of hot spells it's been pretty cool since they were planted, I'd say they all did very well.  From left to right:

> Control grown with no tree tube
> Seedling grown in a 4' tree tube of my own design - it's about 15 inches tall (sorry, it's not on the market... yet!)
> Seedling grown in a conventional 4' tree tube (treeshelter)

If these had had June & July to grow, full sun and a nursery manager who actually remembered to water them once in a while, just think what they could do!  I am fully convinced that we can grow oak trees from an acorn to at least 4' in height the first summer.

Why do I talk about fast growth so much?  Because if oaks are ever going to reclaim their rightful place in our yards and, more importantly, in our agricultural food chain, we need to get past the wholly false notion that oaks are incapable of fast growth.  Oaks are capable of astounding growth.

Some guys supercharge their cars to see how much performance they can get out of them.  I like to supercharge my oaks!  And frankly, we need high performance oaks a hell of a lot more than we need high performance cars.


  1. Listening to NPR today and how so many farmers are losing money because of flooding and rain at the wrong time this year. Wrong time for annuals, that is. Thing is - all of those pictures show that the trees (in the background) are doing just fine! Which means that acorns (as well as chestnuts, walnuts, pecans, etc.) do just fine with the highly variable weather!

  2. How late in the year can acorns be planted so they grow and survive?