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How to Propagate Oak Trees

By Larry Parr ; Updated September 21, 2017

Most species of oaks grow easily from acorns. When possible, collect your own acorns and grow oaks that have already adapted to your area. Oaks like growing in sunny locations where there is well-drained soil. Plant in late fall (but not right before the snow season) or just before the rainy season in your part of the country. Oaks like plenty of rain.

Find an oak tree that has already adapted to your particular growing region. Collect acorns by knocking them off the tree yourself or picking up the larger and healthier-looking seeds that have already fallen.

Soak the acorns in a bucket of water. If soaking freshly-picked acorns, discard any floaters immediately. If soaking acorns that have dried on the ground, soak for 24 hours before discarding any that float.

Dig a hole approximately 6 inches in diameter and 12 to 18 inches deep in a sunny location with well-drained soil. Break up the soil with your shovel and remove any rocks or other debris.

Pour 1 teaspoon of nitrogen fertilizer into the bottom of the hole and then fill in the hole, lightly tamping down the soil. Leave a 1 to 2 inch depression in the top of the hole.

Remove the acorn caps of 3 acorns and place them into the depression, laying the acorns on their sides. Cover with 1 to 2 inches of soil and gently tamp down.

Water the seeds well. Spread a layer of mulch over the seeds to help retain moisture. Water when necessary to keep the ground from drying out, but do not keep the ground saturated.

Bend a sheet of wire mesh screen to form a dome over the spot where the seeds are planted. This will keep deer, squirrels and other critters away from the seeds until they sprout.

Be patient. Thin seedlings in the second year, retaining only the heartiest specimen.


Things You Will Need

  • Acorns
  • Bucket
  • Shovel
  • Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Wire mesh screen


  • Some oaks may sprout in a month, others may take longer. Have patience.

About the Author


Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.