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How to Plant a Sawtooth Oak Tree From an Acorn

The Sawtooth oak (Quercus acutissima) tree will produce acorns within five or six years after acorn germination, unlike most other oak trees, which can take 25 to 30 years before they reproduce. This trait has made the tree a desirable seedling, as it will produce large 1-inch long acorns, which are excellent food for wildlife. It grows quickly, sometimes up to 3 feet per year, forming a useful landscape tree. If you have access to the acorns, you might try sprouting them and starting your own Sawtooth oak tree.

Collect a handful of acorns as soon as possible after they fall in the late summer. The squirrels love them and once they are on the ground, they will quickly become infested with worms.

Remove the tops and place the bottoms in a plastic bag filled with dampened peat moss. It should not be wet. If you squeeze a handful of it, no water should drip out. Close the bag and place it in the back of your vegetable drawer in the bottom of your refrigerator. This will mimic the normal stratification the Sawtooth oak acorns need for breaking their dormant stage.

In the spring when the leaf buds are just beginning to swell on the trees outside, prepare a plant pot by filling it with equal parts of potting soil and peat moss The Sawtooth oak tree needs an acid soil for best growth, but will tolerate others. Fill it within 1 inch of the top to leave room for watering. Prepare one 6-inch pot for each acorn.

Take the acorns out of the plastic bag and carefully plant them about 2 inches deep in the prepared pots. Water them gently until the water flows from the bottom drainage holes. Place the pots in a warm spot (50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit) with plenty of sun.

Keep the soil moist until you see the acorn’s sprout emerging through the soil. Only water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Keep it inside until the outside temperatures are above freezing.

Plant your new Sawtooth oak seedling in a permanent place where it will get full fun, have 20 feet in all directions to grow, and in a moderate drained site. Remove all the weeds within 12 inches around your tree. Protect it with a sleeve if you have deer or rodent problems.

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