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Growing oak trees from acorns

Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray)
Quercus bicolor

How to germinate acorns

It is fairly easy to grow an oak tree from an acorn.

Start by gathering mature acorns, when they drop to the ground in the fall. Since they quickly lose their viability if they are stored under dry conditions, it is best to plant them immediately or to stratify them.

Stratification involves placing the acorns in damp sand in a plastic bag and leaving it in the refrigerator – not the freezer! – at (5°C) over the winter. Then you can plant them the following spring. If you don’t have enough room in the refrigerator, another stratification method is to plant the acorns in the fall in pots that you then bury in your garden. Make sure to cover them with a screen or the squirrels may have a feast.

In the spring, you can transplant the seeds that have germinated.

Acorns can be attacked by worms. Destroy them before planting by soaking the acorns in hot water (49°C) for 30 minutes.

Whatever seeds you are trying to grow, it’s important to reproduce the same conditions that encourage them to germinate in the wild.

And whatever method you choose, be sure to use several acorns, as not all of them will be successful.

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