Growing oak from acorns!

naturemanOctober 19, 2008

It's been 2 weeks since I planted the some live and shumard oaks acorns in the pot in my apartment. I have been watering them every 2nd or 3rd day and I don't get a direct sunlight. I have been noticing some tiny black flying bugs in the soil. I have the same soil in my other plants but they don't have any bugs in them. I wonder if these bugs are coming from the bad acorns or someone suggested it could be over-watering. I am in Dallas area.

Are these harmful? How often should I water? Please help me. Thanks.

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Live oaks germinate best from fresh acorns. Shumard oaks require 3 months cold stratification. Any acorns you did not pick yourself and know are fresh I would stratify before planting. Your bugs are probably fungus gnats and are made worse by keeping the soil too wet. BT can be used to clean them up. Dissolve mosquito dunks in water and sprinkle on soil. Al

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 10:33AM
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I have picked up the acorns myself, and did the float test. They all look good, one of them is also cracking from the top pointed side and I can see the seed inside too.

I don't know what BT and mosquito dunk are but will investigate. Do I need both or just one? Thanks for responding.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 11:49AM
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Is there a website that describes the insects and bugs with pictures? I now know BT and other things, I just want to buy something for the bugs I have.

These are little black flying insects, and some are thin and black, longer in size, stuck together as in mating. Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 12:27PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Natureman, BT is a safe effective way to rid your pots of fungus gnats without resorting to harsh chemicals - BTi, or Bacillus thuringienis subspecies israelensis. One of the more cost effective ways to buy it is in the form of mosquito dunks: Float a dunk in a container of water for several hours or overnight, use that water to moisten your pots. Kills the larvae of gnats (and mosquitoes) - you will probably need to use it for approximately three weeks, consecutive waterings, to end the breeding cycle.

Don't become overly confident about your other pots, I brought the gnats home in a prepotted plant once and they invaded every container I had before I got them under control.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 12:35PM
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Morz8, thanks. I have researched online and found that I do have fungus gnat problems by reading and looking. I also came across Gnatrol, but as you have suggested mosquito dunks would achieve the same goal. Which is your preference, cheaper and are they available in home depot or lowe's? Thank you again.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 1:15PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

If the problem extended to many pots, I prefer the liquid form for convenience - the liquid also gives you the option of solution strength, weaker for light infestations, more if they are into everything and making you crazy while visibly damaging seedlings by feeding on fine roots.

But on the other hand, the dunks work fine, are cheaper, and it sounds like you only have just the acorn containers. The dunks are often easier to find, hardware stores, Home Depot, Fred Meyer, garden centers in the insect control aisle...popular product for those who have water features in their gardens (mosquitoes). Intermittent wetting/drying of the dunk doesn't alter the effectiveness, keep a couple for yourself and you can pass on the rest of the package to a friend with a pond.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 6:25PM
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Thanks a lot Morz8. I got the mosquito dunks from a near by home depot. I made 4 pieces of a single dunk and soaked 1/4 of it in a container with 1/4 of water in it and will water it in the morning.

I guess, I need to water this solution once a week for three weeks. I hope it works. Maybe, I can use a layer of sand on top after getting rid of these gnats, as suggested by someone in my other post. I was watering the acorns every 2nd or 3rd day, but now realizing it, since the pot is inside I probably need to water the acorns once a week.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 9:37PM
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If you are seeing the live gnats in the air around the containers even during treatment using a vacuum to suck them out of the air and away from the pots reduces the number of adults available to breed in your containers (and flit around and annoy you too).

Best wishes with your lovely oaks.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 1:57PM
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Good news! The first 3 live oaks out of 11 acorns I planted in the pot have now sprouted. One is now 1 and a half inch and other 2 are now emerging. I also have shumard oaks acorns in the pot, but I guess it's going to take a little longer to sprout.

Since I live in an apartment, I have noticed the shoot is leaning towards the window a little bit. I have moved the pot around to straighten the stem, hopefully. I read somewhere about doing this.

Any advice or technique for keeping the stem straight will help me a lot as I am worried about it now. Gnat problem has reduced after using mosquito dunks but I still see some around the pot, but not like before. Planning to follow the vacuum advice. Thank you.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 1:34PM
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My acorn plants are in a big pot and growing well. I want to know when should I move repot individual plants.

I have a couple with 5 inches tall with 5 leaves. I planted them in September 08, it's been now over 2 months. Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 1:31PM
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At the size you have now I would transplant. Oaks send down a tap root when very small and may be difficult if the root is too deep and wrapped around each other. Al

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 10:54AM
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