The seeds, or nuts, that a live oak tree produces are called acorns. Because acorns are fairly heavy in comparison with the seeds of other trees and plants, they are not dispersed on the wind. However, they are much easier to collect than the seeds of other trees. You can collect the acorns of live oaks and grow your own seedlings. To be successful at planting and growing live oaks, you will need to put the acorns through a mock winter season before planting them.
Find a live oak tree in your area and pick the acorns directly from the tree or from the ground beneath the tree. Inspect any acorns you pick up from the ground and discard any that have dried out, have holes or which contain pests.
Place the acorns in a bucket of water and soak them overnight. This will rehydrate them. Remove and discard any nuts that are floating in the bucket of water. The acorns that sink to the bottom of the bucket are generally the most viable. They tend to be pest-free and healthy.
Remove the viable acorns from the water and lay them out in a single layer to air dry. Let them air-dry for 30 minutes to one hour. This will ensure that the acorns are completely dry, which will reduce the chance that mold will grow.
Place the acorns in a freezer bag and put them in your refrigerator for two months. The refrigeration process will allow the acorns to go through a mock winter season. This will help to ensure their successful germination in the spring.
Choose pots or buckets that have drainage holes and that are 5 to 6 inches deep. Fill the pots with potting soil to 2 inches from the top of the pot.
Place an acorn on its side in each pot or bucket and cover it with an inch of soil. Water it until you see water leaking out of the drainage holes in the container.
Place the pots in an area where they will receive 14 to 16 hours of artificial light or sunlight daily. Water the soil every three days until the acorns sprout. Plan to transfer the live oak seedlings to a sunny location when you are certain that all dangers of frost have passed in your region.
Dig holes for each seedling. Dig 1-foot-wide holes that are the depth of the pots. Place the seedlings in the holes and refill the holes with dirt.
Add a 2- to 3-inch-deep layer of mulch around the seedlings. Make sure the mulch doesn't touch the stem of the trees.
Water the newly planted seedlings. Plan to water weekly if rainfall in your area drops below an inch per week.