English Oak - quick germination

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English Oak - quick germination

Postby Aquaman » March 25th, 2014, 5:57 pm

A neighbour kindly gave me some acorns from his lovely English Oak tree.

I chucked them in some pots with my new recipe bonsai soil about 3 weeks ago.

I wasn't expecting any action until spring, but to my amazement I have some nice little seedlings already.

Very pleased.

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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby Naimul » March 25th, 2014, 7:14 pm

did the seeds need any special treatment to germinate?
Last edited by Naimul on March 25th, 2014, 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby Aquaman » March 25th, 2014, 7:20 pm

No special treatment. I just buried them in the pots and as the soil settled part of the acorn became exposed to the light and hey presto out popped a shoot.

They took about a week to germinate and then another 2 weeks to get to the size they are now (about 7 inches tall).

I have grown oaks before from acorns, but have never had any germinate that quickly with no stratification.

The tree in the centre of the photo was eaten by something when it first sprouted. It then sent up 2 new shoots which is what you see in that picture. Tough little fella.
Last edited by Aquaman on March 25th, 2014, 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby Naimul » March 25th, 2014, 7:40 pm

wow, seems pretty easy. i feel like going out to find some acorns now ahahaha
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby Aquaman » March 25th, 2014, 8:16 pm

Naimul wrote:wow, seems pretty easy. i feel like going out to find some acorns now ahahaha


Yeah it has been pretty easy.

I also have some Pin Oak and American Oak acorns, which I am hoping will germinate soon.

If you can collect the acorns for free you might as well give it a go. What have you got to lose?

Most oaks near where I live have dropped their acorns now. But you can still find lots of acorns on the ground as long as a mower hasn't been through and collected them.

Collect as many as you can then even if only a small percentage germinate you'll still a good few trees.

Good luck.
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby klaery » March 25th, 2014, 10:02 pm

Great success!
Anyone ever seen any mature english oak around Brisbane? I know they do grow here but they are rare. I have pin oak but I am yet to find english oak :(
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby Aquaman » March 26th, 2014, 10:59 am

klaery wrote:Great success!
Anyone ever seen any mature english oak around Brisbane? I know they do grow here but they are rare. I have pin oak but I am yet to find english oak :(


It's funny that you ask.

I have often thought it would be fun to set up a website where people can record the location of interesting trees. It has its limitations: It would only work for trees on public land and once the location is shared the seeds would quickly disappear......but it would be an interesting project.

I always think is a shame when seeds fall to the ground and have little or no chance of germinating.

I recently discovered a massive old Oak near my house that drops thousands of acorns. I had no idea it was there until recently.
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby timi99 » March 28th, 2014, 4:11 pm

:D After seeing this I went for a run and collected 25 acorns. I will see how I go and post results if I get any.
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby Aquaman » March 28th, 2014, 8:48 pm

timi99 wrote::D After seeing this I went for a run and collected 25 acorns. I will see how I go and post results if I get any.


Good luck Timi.

I think you'll get at least 5 seedlings out of 25 acorns, but hopefully more.
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby timi99 » March 28th, 2014, 10:15 pm

Thanks, I hope so to.

I did a quick float test when I got home and ended up with 24. I put 12 straight into pots and the other 12 in the fridge for stratification. It would be great to get some results like yours, thanks for the inspiration! :fc:
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby legoman_iac » March 13th, 2017, 10:23 am

Hey all,

Just collected half a dozen oak acorns from a mate's yard and found this thread as I'm a little confused as to what to do next (so much conflicting info out there).

I see some people plant half, and put half in the fridge to 'stratify' them? Also, what's the float test?

Thought I'd try hedging my bets and put half in the fridge. Should I place them in my bonsai soil in a container ? Or just damp sand (don't have any sand on hand, can go to the beach though, or should I just use soil from my yard?).

For the ones going straight into soil/pot outside, am not expecting 2 week germination, but should I crack them? Read that helps? Also, full shade, partial shade or sun?

If anyone has extra info on best practices for oak acorns for bonsai-fication, it'd be greatly appreciated!

Also keen to see updates for how the acorns mentioned here gave gotten on?

- Daniel
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby shibui » March 13th, 2017, 5:12 pm

It seems just a little early for acorns to be ripe but hopefully they are mature enough to germinate.
Down here acorns just germinate without any treatment at all. No need to put in the fridge. Just plant a few cm deep in any potting mix and keep just damp.
If you do want to stratify they can just go into a plastic bag or container without anything else, just a few drops of water. Sand is good for stratification because it is fairly inert - no bugs or diseases - but never use beach sand with plants or seed. Way too much salt :P If you have nothing else some damp bonsai mix would do but you may find they go mouldy while you have them in the fridge.
No need to crack acorns. They will crack open when the seed starts to grow.
Full sun would be best for germinating seed as long as you can keep the pots from getting too dry. Shade will cause long internodes on the seedlings as they grow - not so good for bonsai. Some afternoon shade if you are having trouble keeping the soil damp.
I prefer to cut the radicle (taproot) when very young. You can even cut it before the top shoot starts or leave it for a few weeks or even months. Oaks have a very strong vertical root that does not suit bonsai pots. The sooner you cut it the quicker it will start to grow lateral roots.
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby legoman_iac » March 14th, 2017, 9:38 pm

Thanks for the awesome info Shibui!

I was keen to try the stratification as I've never done it before, however after your post I've gone the easier/lazier way of planting them all, plus my wife is happier not having oak trees in the fridge, haha.

My mate said he often gets oaks popping up all over his yard so hoping these go well.

Thanks again, will post pics if/when there's signs of life.

- Daniel
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby shibui » March 15th, 2017, 6:37 am

I find it easier to just pick up the germinating acorns and pot those up but I can hear that you are excited to become a real Dad, not a foster parent.
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Re: English Oak - quick germination

Postby Jarad » March 15th, 2017, 9:55 am

My 2015 batch went quite well without stratification. I believe Neil recommended using 8 inch pots so I did half int he 8 inch pots and half in those seed raising greenhouse things from bunnings. All of the acorns in the seed raising greenhouse failed as they stayed too wet and just rotted. Of the acorns that I planted in the 8 inch pots I had a 75% success rate.
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