Quercus acutissima, also known as sawtooth oak, is a fast-growing variety of oak that originated in Asia. Because of its accelerated growth, the sawtooth oak is a perfect variety of oak to grow from an acorn. Sawtooth oak can grow between 13 and 25 inches each year, much faster than other types of oak. Also, unlike other varieties of oak that start producing acorns after their twentieth year, the sawtooth oak is mature enough to produce 1-inch acorns by its sixth year.
Preparing and Germinating the Sawtooth Oak Seeds
Find out if the sawtooth oak will grow in your area. Sawtooth oaks grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, where the average annual minimum temperature is between -15 and 20 degrees F.
Collect twenty healthy-looking acorns that have fallen from their parent Sawtooth oak. This can be done anytime between mid-September and mid-November.
Take the acorns home and drop them into a glass of water. Keep the ones that sink to the bottom and throw away any floaters. Dry your acorns carefully and put them in a small plastic zipper bag.
Stratify the acorns by keeping them in your refrigerator for two to three months. Manual stratification mimics the natural cooling process that acorns would experience in their ideal growing conditions.
Plant your acorns in a 6-inch pot, or larger, that has been filled to within 2 inches of the top with a rich potting compost. If you have more than four acorns to plant, plant four acorns to a pot. Lay your acorns on their sides around the edges of the pot.
Cover the acorns with another inch of potting compost and water your freshly-planted acorns until the soil is very moist.
Set the pot in an outdoor location where it can be exposed to the elements. Make sure that any excess water is able to drain from the pot. Leave the acorns unattended until the mid to late spring when they begin to sprout.
Move the sprouted acorns to their own individual pots until they are large enough to be planted.
Planting the Sawtooth Seedlings
Plant your sawtooth oak seedlings in the ground once they are 4 inches tall. Sawtooth oaks grow to be quite large, so choose a location with plenty of room that receives full sun for at least several hours each day.
Prepare the soil before planting your sawtooth oak seedling. Dig a hole that is twice as large to accommodate the seedling's root system and work some rich potting compost into the displaced soil.
Use a garden hose to fill the hole with 2 inches of water. Wait for the water to sink into the soil.
Fill the hole with enough amended soil that the sawtooth oak sits at the same level it did in the pot when it is lowered into the hole.
Set the sawtooth oak seedling in the hole and cover its roots with amended soil. Water the seedling lightly to help the soil settle and avoid air bubbles from forming around the root system.
Fill the hole to the surface with amended soil. Pack down the soil to ensure that the seedling is planted securely.
Water in your sawtooth oak directly after planting to help your seedling establish itself.
Caring for a Sawtooth Oak
Water your sawtooth oak tree once a week in the absence of rain during its first year. Use a slow watering method like a soaker hose to ensure that the water soaks deep into the soil. After its first year, your sawtooth oak is capable of find its own water and should only be watered during long spells without rain.
Use a chemical fertilizer like Miracle-Gro or Grow More to fertilize the soil around your sawtooth oak twice a year. Fertilize your sawtooth oak with manure, fish emulsion or an organic blended fertilizer if you prefer.
Prune your sawtooth oak only if desired. No additional pruning is necessary for your sawtooth oak.