Monday, February 27, 2017

Little Acorns

You'd scarce expect one of my age
To speak in public on the stage;
And if I chance to fall below
Demosthenes or Cicero,
Don't view me with a critic's eye,
But pass my imperfections by.
Large streams from little fountains flow,
Tall oaks from little acorns grow.

Lines written for a School Declamation, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)

When we go places, I like to gather acorns in hopes of rooting them and eventually growing some tall oak trees. I'm not sure why I do this, but I think it's fun to try and get the acorns to germinate. Acorns from all species of oaks except white oak require stratification, which just means that they need a period of cold to develop roots, stem, and start growing. I collect mature acorns from the ground in the fall, and place them in damp sphagnum moss in a plastic bag. Then I put the plastic bag in the refrigerator for 30-90 days.

Or until I come across the plastic bag when I'm cleaning out the refrigerator. That's what happened last weekend when I found a bag full of germinated acorns I had collected from where Justin used to work in upstate NY. The date on the bag was 12/13/15, which I guess means that I should clean out my refrigerator more often.

This is what the acorns look like once the root and stem have emerged and started growing.

This is an exciting photo of the newly-planted acorns in moist soil.

I was running out of space near windowsills, but decided that these might grow well if I put them in Ryan's room,
 watched over by our hundred-year-old oak tree to set a good example for them.

This exciting photo is one of the three oak trees I started from acorns I collected at Gettysburg College, where Ryan went to school. It really is more than a stick; you can see new green growth at the top, and after it grows new leaves in the spring and summer, they even change colors and drop in the fall. 

Here's hoping I can nurture some tall oaks in the future!


  1. wow, I do believe you have a very green thumb!! I think of you every time I water my pine....

  2. What a cool idea, Bonny! Souvenir oak trees! Love it!

  3. As usual, I am learning all sorts of interesting things from you! Grow tall and mighty, dear little oaks!

  4. I love your idea! I might just give this a try!

  5. I'd say growing an oak tea from an acorn takes a lot of patience - good for you. And how did I not know about your connection to Gettysburg College? Or did I just forget? Dale had such high hopes that Hannah would go there.

  6. You surely do have a green thumb! Hopefully, you'll keep up the oak tree watch, as we'd love to see the leaves grow and change.

  7. Wow. That is pretty cool. And here's another vote for Oak Watch! I'd love to see those little (or big?) leaves on that stick that's growing into a tree!! ;)

  8. Ok, I did find ALL of the photos exciting! I love that you're planting trees for future generations to enjoy, as well!

  9. I love your acorn story. My younger son has always found acorns irresistible and we find them in pockets and backpacks all the time. I did not know how to germinate them, so thanks for the lesson!


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