Stories from the Barn

A hive of activity in the Hampshire downlands

Grow an Oak Tree

Grow an oak tree

Make this the year to grow an oak tree.

2020 has been a unlike any other and sometimes it can be hard to find the positive things.  Make 2020 the year you grow an oak tree. So many of us have looked to nature and the natural world to gives us a sense of reassurance in a world that seems slightly out of control. We all want to find ways to connect with nature and planting an acorn to grow an oak tree, is just one.

Remembering those Summer walks amongst the oak trees.

Summer walks were filled with a renewed observation of nature. Thus it was that so many of us made comment that the acorns seemed very big this year. They were, newly formed bursting out of their cups and shiny green.

Grow an oak tree

2020 Acorns

Acorns come tumbling down.

But now they are tumbling down and those heavy acorns make themselves known as they land on unsuspecting heads. Those that fell last week are now being scavenged by animals. They make a fantastic Winter store for animals or are crushed under foot or they are starting to sprout. Gathering up some of the sprouting acorns on pathways and saving them from being crushed under foot is something we can all do to help propagate our native trees.

Grow an oak tree

Sprouting Acorns

From acorns to oak trees.

It’s a simple process of planting the sprouting acorns into a pot containing compost. Place it outdoors so that it has a bit of shelter. Keep it moist but not saturated and let nature do it’s thing. Watch out though! They will be a perfect dinner for your pet garden mouse and others. Don’t bring them indoors as the acorn needs to be cold in order for germination to take place. If the acorn has not sprouted, do a float test, discard the acorns that float (they will be full of air, lots of nibble holes) and then put the others in the fridge for a couple of weeks and plant them.

Grow an oak tree

One of the acorns planted a few years ago

Keep watch over it for a couple of years. As it becomes an established plant repot to a larger pot, then consider where to plant it. This is probably the most important part of the whole process. Consider the needs of the oak tree. It likes sunshine so choose an open spot but think about how large this tree is going to grow. Remove weeds and prepare the planting hole with some well rotted compost. Add a stake and protect it from deer and rabbits and watch it grow!

‘From little acorns mighty oaks will grow’

This will be one of the best things you have done this year and the thrill of seeing the oaks spring forth will be a highlight of the Winter.

Grow an oak tree

An ancient oak tree