Growing an oak tree is a fun and easy project for people of all ages. Seeing that the oak tree has been a huge part of Atascadero and the Paso Robles area (Paso Robles is called the Pass Of The Oaks) why not celebrate some of that history by adding a little bit to our community by sharing tips on how to plant and grow a new Oak Tree. With a little time and patience, almost anyone can grow a small acorn seedling into a mighty oak. The process can be personally rewarding not to mention highly beneficial for the environment.
The materials you’ll need to grow an oak tree are simply an acorn and a 1-gallon pot filled with soil.
The germination rate for acorns is somewhat low, so collecting enough acorns will greatly increase your odds of success. Collect several handfuls of fallen acorns after visually inspecting each one. Throw away those with mold or insect bores. Soak your acorns overnight in water, discarding any acorns that float to the top as they are most likely immature or damaged.
Depending upon which type of oak tree you are growing will dictate the next step of the process. White oak is ready to plant immediately after the soaking process, whereas a red oak will require another step called stratification before planting. We won’t worry about white oak since it’s really not around here in Atascadero and Paso Robles. A simple internet search can explain the stratification process in greater detail, but it typically requires an 8-10 week period of placing the acorn in an airtight bag surrounded by damp sawdust or peat moss.
You are now ready to plant your acorns. Make sure your pot has at least 12 inches of soil and plant each acorn 1 inch deep. You may plant several acorns together in a single pot. Once the first leaves begin to grow it is time to transplant the seedling to a permanent location. If you only have a single sapling, you can keep your oak tree indoors for up to four months in a bright, sunny location.
Young oak trees need care and attention until there are 5-6 feet tall. Depending upon your location, especially on the west side off of Highway 101 in both Paso Robles and Atascadero. The ever-growing deer population is always looking for new vegetation to eat and a brand new and soft tree sapling is a perfect target for their hungry bellies. Because of that, many saplings can be in danger of being consumed by wildlife. Placing a small cage – typically using chicken wire – will prevent your small tree from being consumed. Regular watering is important as is caring for the soil. Keep the surrounding soil free of weeds to ensure your oak is able to fully develop its root system. Many experts recommend to not use fertilizer as it can adversely impact the tree’s trunk and branches.
A live oak tree can grow rapidly within the first year and may reach heights of up to 4 feet. After that, the rate of growth typically declines and may only grow at a rate of 12-14 inches per year.
With continued care, your oak tree will provide years of enjoyment through its abundant shade and wildlife habitat! With all the controversy surrounded around Justin Vineyards going out and cutting a lot of oak trees and in their defense, they always plant more to replace the ones they cut, we can help do our part in spreading more oak trees throughout Northern San Luis Obispo County. There is always an oak tree that has come of age and dies and falls and they too need to be replaced talking to a Paso Robes tree service company, this happens way more often than you would think. They get calls all the time to help remove fallen trees, especially during the winter. If everyone participated in growing a tree, the area will have the mighty oak tree around for generations to come.
Did You Know?
- The oak tree is the national tree of the United States
- An oak tree can live well over 200 years with proper food, water and sunshine. The famous Angel Oak Tree in Charleston South Carolina is more than 500 years old and some argue as many as 1,500 years old – making it easily one of the oldest living things in the United States.
- The oak tree is considered one of the largest trees in the world. Tree branches can grow to 180 feet long, which is more than 5 school buses long in length.
- Oakwood is among the strongest and most durable woods in existence. Oak is commonly used in flooring, furniture and other building materials. Given the hardness of the wood, oak can resist insect and fungal attacks.
- Oak barrels are commonly used for distilling wine and other alcohols. The wood helps enhance alcohol’s favor, thus why you see Firestone Walker Brewing Company use it for all of their beers. A lot of local vineyards use this technique too.
- Large oak trees will consume as much as 50 gallons of water a day and a mature oak tree’s root system can total several hundred miles.
- Oak trees typically don’t start producing acorns until the age of 20 and sometimes as old as 50.