Within every summer acorn lives a mighty oak eager to inhabit your yard! It’s easy to grow a whole forest of them from acorns collected now into fall from locally native trees. Best of all they won’t cost you a penny.
An oak tree seedling can have a huge taproot supporting just a few inches of top growth. This is why native oaks started in containers often fail because the taproot hits the bottom of the pot and becomes distorted almost immediately after germination. A straight deep taproot is vital to the tree’s drought resistance.
Wildland revegetation experts have proven the best way to plant a tree is from a freshly cracked acorn, and now is the perfect time to get started on your free oak tree forest. Gather only perfect acorns that have fallen and put them in a plastic container and refrigerate. This simulates winter. In midwinter in California or early spring elsewhere, remove from storage and set outside in an empty nursery pot. There the acorns will start to crack proving it is viable as the tap root begins to grow. When the acorn has the slightest new crack, plant in the ground where you want the tree to grow. Set the acorn on its side six inches deep. Nature will do the rest.