Last fall, the oak trees of Maryland yielded a bumper crop of acorns. In early October, I gathered up handfuls from out Towson way, hoping to plant them somewhere in my yard.
The street behind us has oak; one or two houses around my neighborhood has oak; but we don’t have any oak. I was hoping that soon we would.
The internet told me that acorns need 1000 hours of cool weather to “ripen,” so that I should put them in the refrigerator in plastic bags along with a bit of moist dirt and keep them there throughout the winter.
Since we would be turning off our fridge for the five months we were to be away, I approached my mother, who graciously acceded to the honor of incubating our dirt.
When we returned from our sabbatical, I thanked my mother, reclaimed my slumbering acorns and transferred them to small flower pots with soil from my crude but functional compost heap. Eight acorns all told. Remarkably, four have sprouted.
It takes them a while to get started, and once they do, they seem to grow in a most peculiar way. It is as if they first create a needle with an eye at the end of it through which they thread their outcropping of green. Then, they burst forth.
I will keep the saplings in larger and larger pots on my porch until they are ready to brave the elements on their own, and until I build an enclosure that will protect them from the deer.
From what I have read, an oak-and-poplar forest should be just fine.
And if someone can tell me what kind of oak these are, I would be most grateful.