White Oaks 

from Acorns
Note: This page is coming from Goshen, Indiana, located in Northern Indiana

    Getting Started
      • I plant acorns in September about 2 or 3 inches deep. One can simply dig up the place you want them to be permanently. Or, simpler yet, slit the lawn with a spade, drop them in, and press the soil down with your heel. Mark them with stakes so the mower misses them.
      • Water and keep them moist if it doesn't rain. They start with a root that goes down and the top may not emerge until spring.
      • As soon as they emerge the chipmunks and squirrels dig them out for breakfast, so I place screen wire cages formed from half-inch hardware cloth around and over them until they are a foot tall. This also protects the bark from hungry rabbits in the winter. Rabbits can still damage them the second or third year if the the stem isn't protected.
      • They soon develop a long deep tap root, so if you want to transplant them, include as much of the tap root as you can.
      • I have also started them indoors 1 inch deep in potting soil in a tray of bottomless quart size milk cartons. Long vertical containers are best to facilitate the tap root. Keep soil moist. I plant these out in spring, but protect them from squirrels and chipmunks using a screen wire cage.

      • Transplanting when they are a 12 to 18 inches tall is easy. Dig deep for the tap root.
      • When they are bigger the tap root often gets badly damaged in transplanting.
      • I have moved them when they are 3 or 4 feet tall, but lots of watering is important until they get new  feeder roots. I monitor them and give them a 10 gallon soaking as soon as leaves start to droop.

    White Oaks as Trees
      Good stuff
      • White oaks are sturdy, traditional, indigenous (in Northern Indiana and many other areas of North America), and make nicely shaped shade tress.
      • Their wood is very valuable. If you have a veneer log, it can bring as much as black walnut.
      • They grow fairly fast if they are out in the sun (not as fast as soft maple, however). My guess is that they grow as fast as the hard maple trees.
      • I have never seen one tipped over by wind in a storm like a maple tree. The tap root anchors it. Of course a strong enough wind can break off any tree. White oak is stronger than most trees.
      • They don't spread a lot of big surface roots that keep popping up in your yard like some trees do.
      Bad stuff
      • Once they are mature you may get more acorns than you want every three years or so.
      • Some don't like it that the leaves hang on longer than other trees. Many of the leaves fall at the end of the winter as the new leaves form.
      • They don't seem to have many problems with insects, but we may be getting an infestation of gypsy moths in a few years. I talked to expert, Frank Bishop, and he says most oaks will survive okay, but the moths will strip some leaves. He says that in a few years the natural predators will multiply and control the moth population and the trees will not be bothered by the moths after that. Squirrels are one known predator.  The female gypsy moth does not fly about, so squirrels have access to them.

    White Oak and Acorns on the Internet

    To Contact the Author
      • back to Bartelart.com  - an artist who lives in the woods
      • Contact me if you have corrections or comments related to this page. 
      • If you have a similar or related page, let me know if you want it linked.

    Updated 1-2005