Oaks belong to a large family of trees with more than 400 varieties around the world. The generally long-lived deciduous trees are used for shade in landscapes and for their wood. English oak trees grow to mature heights of 18 to 20 metres (60 to 70 feet) and have a spread of 12 to 15 metres (40 to 50 feet). The acorns of oak trees attract wildlife. You can propagate the tree from seeds or cuttings.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Rooting hormone
- Spray bottle
Prepare a mixture with equal parts of peat and perlite in a small pot for planting the cuttings. Make sure the planting medium drains well.
Take cuttings from young oak trees between May and October. Avoid taking cuttings during winter or softwood cuttings as these do not root. Cuttings taken from trees that are more than five years old have a low chance of rooting. Cut 15 cm (6 inch) stems starting from the growing tip.
Remove all leaves from the lower half of the stem. Dip the bottom of the cutting in a rooting hormone and plant in the prepared planting medium. This is required for effective rooting. You can buy rooting hormone at nurseries or garden centres.
Place the pot in a warm spot and mist three or four times every day using a spray bottle. Reduce the misting intervals when the cuttings have sprouted roots. Under optimal growing conditions, this should take about 12 weeks.
Tug at each cutting gently after 12 weeks to make sure it has rooted. Rooted cuttings will hold their ground. Plant in a loose, well-drained soil amended with organic matter. Add soluble fertiliser to the soil and continue to fertilise during the active growing season.
Tips and warnings
- Oaks are slow-growing trees and are often grown in large containers with a well-drained and fertile soil for up to five years before transplanting to the ground.
- Fertilise the tree regularly during its growing period.
- It is very hard to propagate oak trees from cuttings and it often takes several attempts to be successful. The most used propagation method for oaks is planting the seeds or the acorns in a fertile, well-drained soil as soon as they drop from the tree.
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