How to Plant Oak Trees From Acorns


Propagation of oak trees is possible through planting acorns. In fact, many acorns that drop from the tree in the fall will naturally germinate the following spring. All acorns must go through a cold weather period called stratification. The acorns must be subjected to cold temperatures, below 50 degrees F, in order to germinate the following year. Stratification can be done by placing the acorns in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. The germination period of a planted acorn will typically be from 1 month to 3 months depending on the species of oak.

Step 1

Collect acorns as soon as the seeds hit the ground. Inspect each acorn for any defect such as a cracked hull or small insect holes. Discard any acorns with such defects. Remove the woody caps from the acorns.

Step 2

Place the collected acorns in a plastic bucket. Fill the bucket with water. Discard any acorns that are floating. The nutmeat inside the hull is not sufficient for germination.

Step 3

Dry the wet acorns on the paper towels. Allow the acorns to dry for at least a half hour.

Step 4

Set the acorns in a plastic bag. You may wrap the acorns in a layer of sphagnum moss, if desired. However, the moss may cause the acorns to prematurely germinate. If small roots are projecting form the acorns by placing them in the moss, the sprouting acorns must be planted immediately. Place the bag inside the refrigerator. Allow the acorns to stratify for up to 3 months. Planting of the acorns must be done after stratification, and is best done in the spring after all threat of frost has passed.

Step 5

Create a small hole from 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep with the hand trowel. Place one acorn per small hole. The planting holes should be spaced at least 25 feet to 30 feet apart, unless you are planning on transplanting the oak seedlings the following winter. Cover the acorn with soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bucket
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic bag
  • Sphagnum moss (optional)
  • Small hand trowel


  • University of California: How to Grow California Oaks
  • North Dakota Extension Service: Questions on Oaks
Keywords: acorn to oak, growing oak trees, grow oak acorns, planting acorns

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.