Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cork Oak Quercus Suber How to germinate many in a small container

     Space can be a precious commodity right? Or, who wants to dig up their garden or make long furrows in their yard? At its most rudimentary level bonsai is the art of keeping a plant in a tray (bon=盆=tray, sai= 栽=planting). So, why not start seeds in a pot?  Where I work we have about six cork oaks. Last October and November I collected as many acorns as I could. Many were devoured by the immense lawn mowers used to maintain the grounds.
collected on two different dates
     They were soaked for three days. All the floating acorns were removed  which was more than half of what I collected. After which I put them in zip lock bags and tossed them my refrigerator. I checked on the bag a few days ago and noticed the radicle sprouting. They had been in the refrigerator for about twelve weeks.

I was surprised to see green on the shell

This one was missing its shell. it is still viable and is germinating
      I will be planting 12 Acorns. After planting, the acorns will grow their tap roots first. Then they will grow the stem and leaves. The first time I grew cork oak I thought I had lost all of the seeds. It took many weeks to see anything. I waited and kept hoping. Then one day they started peeking through the soil. Needless to say I was very relieved.

     I'll be using a taller pot to grow the acorns. The tap roots are long and I'd rather they didn't tangle. The roots grow long, but after the stems grow from four to six inches I will chop off the excess root.

     For the soil I used fibrous organic material. All the fine matter was sifted out.

    The acorns were placed all in the same direction. I squeezed the two in the middle facing six o' clock.

     More soil was added until the acorns were barely covered. The reason for this is that the acorn is like a horizon. The root grows down from the acorn. Likewise the stem grows up from the acorn. So, it is better to bury them shallow. You want to just cover the acorn so that the radicle stays moist and start growing down.

     I added a little bit more soil. See the acorn just peeking through in the back? I added a little bit more cover for the acorn. I soaked the pot in water until it started to feel much heavier. Then I placed the pot in a shady spot. At this point direct sunshine is not very important.

     After six to twelve weeks you should see this:

These are California coastal live oak
     The picture above is actually California coastal live oak. I used the same process on these acorns. Cork oak leaves are much smaller and darker. These oaks come from an oak tree in Claremont CA. The acorns were long smooth with honey and brown stripes down the length of the acorn. They were very beautiful. I was reluctant to plant them, but what good is untapped potential? The live oak started to sprout in greens and reds. They were also beautiful. The leaves are big, soft, and supple. I would venture to say that if they are not a specific variety then they are some sort of hybrid. Yet, that is a topic for another post. Cheers.

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