How we grow our Oak trees

In this article, we explain how we have grown our own Oak (Quercus) trees with acorns.

We have been growing our own oaks for more than ten years now. Initially, we found that acorn germination was so easy that there was little reason in going to a specialist UK propagator, which can be advisable where stratification is proving tricky. With the Elms, we had to go to a Scottish company who produced about 2000 seedlings using our meristematic tissue in a test tube. Even that can be fraught. They had three tries before we eventually had a successful uptake. Not so with the Oak, which is harvested in September and is almost always viable. View our range of Oak trees here.

Various oak tree leaves
From left: English Oak, Red Oak, Evergreen Oak.

Once they are grown into seedlings they are then transplanted into rows with wider spacing to facilitate strong growth. Between then and the final lifting stage as a heavy standard tree, they are transplanted on two more occasions to aid strong root growth. See the picture below of our tree spade lifting an excellent tree from the nursery fields in early November. By keeping the cycle in-house, we have avoided any exposure to some nasty diseases like Oak Processionary Moth and Acute Oak Decline.

The problem we always come up against with Oak production is the tree’s tendency to fork out rather than shoot straight upward and form a nice straight stem. This is known as a lack of “apical” dominance. One way to cure this is by growing trees closer together to force the shoots upwards towards the sunlight. However, this may lead to a lack of airflow between the trees, which in turn may invite mildew onto the leaf area during the summer months, which can seriously stunt growth. The inevitable solution is to use a stout bamboo cane and tie the top shoot onto it during the tree’s progression. Very labour intensive, but not usually apparent to the customer who ends up purchasing such a fine specimen!

Click below to see a before and after of a pleached evergreen oak installation:


Read More:

A buyer’s guide to Oak Trees
Choosing a memorial tree
King an Co Tree Nursery celebrated 40 years


Shopping Online

You can buy trees, hedging, screening trees, shrubs and topiary online by browsing our website. If you do not see a plant or size that is suitable for you then please call as we stock a wide variety of plants in our tree nursery. It’s worth noting that many other websites sell other people’s stock (i.e. they act as an agent) so you cannot view the products at their own site. At King & Co, all of our advertised plants are available for viewing at our tree nursery in Rayne, near Braintree, situated just over an hours drive out of London. Our knowledgeable and experienced tree nursery staff is always contactable via phone on 01376 340469 or if you have any questions regarding any of our trees or accessories. If you cannot see what you require on our website, please complete the enquiry form. We will give it our urgent attention and will get back to you shortly with a solution that meets your needs.