This is how to plant an oak tree.
On Earth Day this year, we celebrated trees and the vital role forests play in our ecosystem. If you happened to visit us that day, then you left with a white oak tree seedling. We encourage you to plant this seedling in your backyard as a reminder to continue creating and protecting forests and wildlife of tomorrow.
And if you’re looking to plant an oak tree from a seedling you’ve gotten elsewhere, this guide is still helpful for you.
Step 1: Caring for your seedling at home
Your seedling will need to stay indoors before you can plant it in the soil outside. It’s possible that your seedling doesn’t have any leaves at first. But it is alive! Once the seedling is placed in soil and provided with sunlight and water, it will slowly wake up and start to grow.
Here’s how to ensure your seedling thrives inside:
- Your seedling will be in a biodegradable bag and will need to be transplanted from the bag into a pot that is deep enough for the root. Be sure that the pot has drainage holes.
- Place your seedling in full to partial sun, and continue to keep the soil moist but not wet/muddy.
- Once the danger of frost has passed (usually by mid-May), you can move the pot outside if you want to.
Then, before the ground freezes in October or November, it will be time to transplant your oak seedling into the ground.
Step 2: Planting your tree outside
A white oak tree can grow as high as 50 feet tall. Finding the best spot for your oak tree to thrive is important. Here’s what we recommend:
- Choose a location that will allow your tree to grow and to receive ample sunlight.
- Dig a hole that is just big enough for the root ball and the soil from the pot. Gently place it in the hole, fill with extra soil as necessary and carefully tamp it down so that the tree is securely in place.
- Be sure to water your oak tree until it is firmly established.
- A thin covering of mulch will help retain water for the roots. If necessary, use stakes and string or a low protective fence to keep your sapling safe.
Your oak tree will grow between 12-14 inches per year, and can live for hundreds of years. During its long lifetime, oak trees provide food and nesting sites for animals, add moisture to the water cycle, produce oxygen, and help to cool the earth. That is the wonder of trees!