Tuesday, 2 November 2010

From Tiny Acorns..

We were walking in leafy Surrey last week and found ourselves ankle deep in acorns, so, having read recently on Kate's blog that acorns make good chicken feed, I thought I would gather some and bring them home. It seemed a shame to leave them all to the squirrels. So I taking the plastic bag from my pocket, - being a responsible dog owner I find all my coat pockets are stuffed with plastic bags these days, -we gathered quite a few handfuls, including leaves and other detritus, tied up the bag and brought them home. As we also gathered some chestnuts, food for people took precedence over food for chickens when we got back and the acorns languished in their plastic bag on the countertop for several days. When I opened the bag this morning, I was amazed to see this

virtually all of the acorns had germinated, some with shoots three or four inches long.Now it comes as no surprise to me that, as all small children know, from tiny acorns, great oaks will grow, but I didn't realize that they would do so quite this readily. So I took them out to the greenhouse and put them in a tray of compost, and will wait to see if they grow into little seedling oak trees next year, I could have my own forest  Obviously this rate of germination can't happen with all the acorns that fall from the tree, since if this were the case oak trees would be crowding out stockbrokers and bankers in Surrey. And what a shame that would be. 

I started to wonder if there's some way that they"know" when they're in a new environment, and can germinate away happily, so I looked it up, and rather more prosaically,  apparently they tend to dry out when they just fall to the ground, and only germinate when a squirrel carries them off somewhere and buries them in damp ground, or when he ties them up in a plastic bag and leaves them on his countertop for a few days.I prefer to think they just know..

14 comments:

  1. Don't you believe it, all the acorns that fall can germinate in the right conditions. We have a huge oak tree and the ground was covered this year. I did not have the time before leaving France to rake them all up. When I get back for the first couple of months each time I cut the lawn I will be cutting a small forest of oak trees as well. They finally give up! Diane

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  2. This is actually how I got started with the hobby of raising Bonsai Trees

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  3. That is too good. I hope you get your own forest.

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  4. I wish the people that ravish the forest, would replace them with oaks and other hardwoods instead of conifers! It would seem, though they may take longer to get huge, they do readily grow!

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  5. thanks for that diane, I had no idea they were so prolific!

    Hi Doc, maybe I could have a forest of bonsai trees then!

    Thanks GSS

    Hi Sharon, I agree with you - I think the forestry commission is getting the message at last that we want more native broadleaved trees not acres of conifers

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  6. Dear Kathy, How amazing the sight of those germinated acorns. A forest in the making.

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  7. kathy
    I learn something new everytime you blog
    x

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  8. kathy
    I learn something new everytime you blog
    x

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  9. I'm going to gather me some acorns and try and germinate my own forest too! Thanks for sharing

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  10. Hello Edith, yes quite amazing, and so quick too

    Thanks John, full of information that's me, not all of it useful...

    Good luck teawithonesugarplease, I think the freshness of the acorns must be something to do with it, so I'd try it sooner rather than later

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  11. I wish we had oak trees aroud here, it will be fun to see how yours grow.

    “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  12. The thought of a squirrel leaving the acorns in a bag on his countertop really creased me up!

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  13. Wise words indeed Mr H

    Thanks for the comment Little Blue Mouse - squirrels and foxes are so clever I do tend to imbue them with human characteristics, maybe a counter top is a bit far...

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  14. We are trying to get some Oaks growing at our place. A little drier here in Australia than where you are, but i think with all the permaculture water harvesting we have in place they should do ok.

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