A great SAE opportunity, chapter fundraiser, or Agri-Science project is to grow oak seedlings. Here are three steps to get you started:
  1. When collecting only select viable acorns. Do not pick acorns from the tree, instead wait until they mature and fall to the ground. Visually inspect the acorns to make  sure they are free from insect damage and mold. Next, submerge the acorns in water and remove the acorns that float. If the acorns float, this indicates that the embryo did not fully develop.
  2. White oak acorns may be planted immediately. However, red oak acorns will need to be stored in a refrigerator between 4 and 8 weeks. Store the acorns in a plastic bag and make sure they are keep moist. When planting, plant the acorns in a protected area that is comprised of a mixture of top soil and potting soil. The acorns should be planted approximately three times the depth of the acorn. Keep the area moist. Warning: Too much moisture will cause the acorns to rot. After germination, remove inferior seedlings.
  3. Transplant the seedlings to pots that are approximately 1 foot deep. In April, the seedlings may be placed outside in the shade. The plants will need approximately 6 weeks to acclimate to the weather. During mid May and June transplant the seedlings to your desired location and water a minimum of once a week.
For more information on this topic or other forestry / wildlife materials, please visit my portal.
W. Justin Sealy
Area Forestry Teacher
South Region Agricultural Education