How to grow your own oak!

The great oak is probably the most famous of all British native trees. Standing up to an impressive 30ft tall, they truly are big friendly giants.

Living for up to 1,000 years, supporting more biodiversity than any other British plant, and sequestering carbon too, oak trees are an incredible part of our ecosystem.

Whatever your age, it’s always a really fun and interesting project to grow your own tree.

Tiny seeds need just the right environmental conditions to become huge majestic trees. It’s important that you choose a native species (one which naturally grows here, such as oak or walnut) as these will have the genetics that will allow them to thrive in our climate. A non-native species will be susceptible to pests and diseases, and may not find the nutrients it needs to flourish.

How to grow your own oak tree:

  1. Find yourself an acorn from the ground – Choose a fat, ripe one that’s brown all over, not a green (unripe) or dark (rotten) one.
  2. Fill a small flowerpot or yoghurt pot with peat-free compost mixed with a little sand or sawdust and push the acorn in. Make sure the pointed end is facing upwards then cover with 2–3cm of compost and sprinkle with water.
  3. Place the container in a cool place out of direct sun (in a garage, shed or unheated spare room is perfect – if it’s too warm, it won’t germinate).
  4. In spring, check if your acorn has started to sprout. Gently water your tiny seedling once or twice a week to stop the compost from drying out.
  5. When the seedling is 25cm high, re-pot into a larger pot, giving it more room to grow. After one or two years the young tree will be ready to plant in the ground. Oak trees grow slowly but can become enormous – be sure to plant it at least 15-30ft away from your home and all other structures (and with the landowners permission). You could also keep it in a large container if you regularly prune it to keep it to a manageable size.

oak tree