What's the best way to get Acorns to Sprout?

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DD is wanting to make acorns sprout just like in My Neighbor Totoro. Is there a good way to make them sprout? Would they grow okay in a bucket until they are big enought to transplant?

They sprout all over my yard, in plant pots, in flower beds, and in the compost, so I suspect it will sprout for you in a bucket.
The ones that seem to do best around here are half in the dirt and half out. They are also sideways. They go through a wet phase (acorn shell is moist) and then a dry phase that cracks the acorn. They then put off a tap root.
when the kids were young they collected them and we would nick them with a sharp knife amd plant shallow..
You will encounter too types of germination behavior in acorns. Acorns from members of the "white Oak Group" will often sprout the first fall, soon aftwer they fall and over winter as seedlings. Acorns from the "Red Oak Group" usually need to be stratified or subjected to a period of cold. These oaks germinate in the spring. In the wild they are subject to animal grazing, worms etc. These acorns are often acrid or bitter (tanic acid) to discourage wildlife grazing, but they serve an important function as a survival food for late winter when other more palatable food sources have been used up. (Isn't the intricate system woven by God to make all things work, wonderful.) To get these to germinate, they will need to be stratified or subjected to cold temps for the winter then sown.

As mentioned above, both types should be sown shallow and in mineral type soil. They can be cover lightly with peatmoss or forest floor duff. For the red oak acorns, I would would give them 3 months of cold treatment in the back of the fridge and sow them in a deep pot in late february. Keep moist and watch out.

When collecting acorns, be careful they don't heat up like compost. This will happen with as little as a bushel basket full. They also get wormed easily when stored in large quantities.
A few years ago I hauled acorns home from michigan and I just put em in the ground and now I have an oak tree about 5 feet tall
On a walk around the property the other day, I saw the ground littered with acorns. Between the oaks and the filbert trees, we are going to have some pudgy squirrels running around.
Blue Jays plant them everywhere!
Its fun watching them hammer them into the ground, pointy end down!
There is only one squirrel that frequents the oak tree but rarely stays around to bury any of the acorns!
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Yes, Bluejays play a big roll in the natural succession of pine stands to oaks with their acorn planting activities. For quite some time foresters were puzzled where the oak seed source came from in the center of of large expanses of pines. Squirrels won't carry them more that a 100 feet or so. The much more mobile bluejays fly all over with them to bury them. They are the true natural foresters.
Hey Wes!
You have been absent for some time!
You have been missed!
It is a blast watching our local jay hammer them into the lawn! It takes him a few minutes to pound them to his satisfaction.
I went to check on them and just the crown of the nut is visible at soil level!
Live oaks will spread by their root systems too.
If you notice a grove of live oaks, they probably are all of the same parent tree.
I enjoy photographing trees and have many tree portraits on my website.
I have a nice live oak in my front yard and a cedar ash in my backyard.
And, my live oak tries its best to send up seedlings elsewhere in my yard!
I have been planting acorns for two years now. I collect them - keep the good ones - toss the bad ones to the squirrels. I throw them all in a bucket of water overnight. The ones that float - I throw away. I plant the remaining acorns 4" - 6" in planters (August-November) and wait till the following summer (May). Out of 30 acorns in NOV 2008, 3 leafed out the first year. Last year (SEPTEMBER 2009) I had 7 root out of 50 acorns planted so I hope to have a few more trees. One died of the three that leafed out from 2008 - a mole killed it by undermining its roots. The other two may or may not leaf out this summer. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and looking forward to see if I have 7 more oak trees. :)
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We haven't done anything about the oak trees in our pasture. I don't have any idea how many there are though. I started counting our trees one year and stopped at 100, but there were still more trees to count.

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