Updated: Oct 18, 2020
Open-grown oak trees may produce acorns are early as 20 years. Most oak trees grow best in full to partial sun. Oaks are more shade tolerant in youth, and less tolerant as the tree grows larger. They have moderate water needs, and can withstand periods of excessive moisture or moderate drought. Avoid planting them in a spot where the soil is very dry or routinely saturated with water. High pH soil will cause chlorosis. Older trees are very sensitive to construction disturbances. The deep tap root can make transplanting difficult, even when young. Most commonly they are 80-90 feet tall at maturity.
Oak trees live for hundreds of years if undisturbed, and are the host plant for more than 500 different species of butterflies and moths. They also provide nuts, as well as cover and nesting sites for birds and small mammals, making them one of the most important and valuable trees you can plant for wildlife across most of the US.
Please plant your sprouted acorn as soon as possible. If the root end begins to brown, it is losing viability. Oaks do best when they can grow right where they are planted, so give some thought to what area would best sustain it. If you don't have room yourself, consider donating it to a patch of earth near you that will allow you to enjoy it as it grows. You can simply open up a wedge of earth and tuck it in. ;)
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