Acorn Observations

Our woods has four types of native oak trees. Red Oak, Black Oak, Bur Oak, and White Oak. All of these native oaks are large and have good crops of acorns most years. In new plantings I have added Chinkapin Oak, Swamp Oak, and various types of hybrid oaks.

Per the literature the native oaks generally take around 20 years or more to produce acorns. Hybrid oaks are said to start producing acorns much earlier, sometimes in as little as 5 years. Here are my observations on young trees and acorns.

Baby Acorns which may or may not develop

The new native trees – Chinkapin and Swamp Oak are around 10 – 12 years old. In the last couple years we have observed these trees producing Male Catkins, sometimes loads of them. But these trees haven’t produced many mature acorns. This year we had a Chinkapin and a couple Swamp Oaks which produced many small baby acorns. But few of them matured. There is one Chinkapin Oak up in our yard that produced maybe 50 -75 acorns (many of which I collected and will try to grow next spring).

Male White Oak Catkins

The hybrid oaks are another story. They are anywhere from 5 – 9 years old. The older ones started to produce many acorns this year. I have collected many of these to start growing. As I understand it these acorns may have the original hybrid characteristics like Bur Oak and English Oak cross. But because they are in a woods with Bur Oak and White Oak plus other hybrid oaks who knows how they will turn out. It will be fun to find out. I also look forward to more of the sweeter white oak acorns providing food for deer, birds, and other small animals.

The mature White Oak Acorn

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