Is it workable to grow scrub oak from acorns, and if so, I'd appreciate direction. I live near Foothill Drive in SLC.



Sure, you can grow scrub oak from acorns. The acorns must be free of weevils or other pests, and the nut must be "filled". In other word, the seed must be viable. Typically, you can throw acorns into a bucket of water and stir a bit to make sure there aren't bubbles on the outside of the acorns. The ones that float are usually no good.
Most oaks need a moist chill to germinate because they have a physiological dormancy. You can collect and plant acorns in fall at the desired sites, protect the seed from marauding squirrels and birds, and the seed will start growing next spring. Cover the planted acorns with a hardware cloth cap (formed from wire mesh with half-inch spacing). Plant many more seed than you wish to grow, then thin down to the most vigorous seedling early next summer after they start growing.
If you intend to grow the seedlings in pots, I recommend that you get some of the tree tube or bottomless containers that are used in growing forestry seedlings. You can buy them from a company named Stuewe and Co. These containers train the root system so that it won't circle at the bottom of the pot. You'll have much better success after transplanting.

Posted on 1 Oct 2007

Maggie Wolf
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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