What is the most effective way to plant oak trees (and other questions?)
My grandfather has two large oaks in his backyard. This autumn he raked a whole bunch of them up and placed them in bags. He has about 20 bags, probably around 100,000 acorns. He asked me to bring them to his property upstate and plant them for him.
I’ve been keeping them dry, but outside. I want as many acorns as possible to turn into full grown trees. I can plant them any time. I have a lot of questions, but any tips, suggestions, or any information at all will be appreciated.
What percentage of acorns that fall from a tree in the wild will grow into mature trees? I’m guessing that the reason trees produce so many acorns is that a low percentage of the will actually become adult trees.
What percentage of acorns started in pots will grow into mature trees, assuming I transplant them once they are a few months old? What about if I transplant them when they are a year old? Two years?
Will planting several thousand acorns over 60 acres of woods make any significant difference in the diversity of the forest? Will more than a dozen or so trees actually grow? Is it worth it to plant them in the first place? (Would it make any sense to cut down a few hemlocks in areas where I’m planting the acorns in order to let more light in for the baby oaks?)
What is the best way to plant acorns in the wild so that the largest percentage possible will germinate? Should I try to stamp them into the ground? Will animals eat more of them if they are uncovered? Is there a recommended planting depth? Is it not worth it to put in any more effort than to just scatter them around the woods and not worrying about the ones that don’t roll into a crevice or some other disable place?
When is the best time to plant them? Would it be better to push them into the snow now, or wait until spring to throw them around? (I’m thinking that the spring would be better, since animals would have a greater food supply and would be less likely to eat them then, but I don’t know if germination will be effected by the time they are planted.)
Related question: Are acorns edible? (I know they are very bitter, as I have eaten them before, but I’m wondering if it’s safe to.)
This question is dedicated to johnpowell.
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