Young Oak with Acorns!!!

amidheliotSeptember 3, 2009

My neighbor built his house about 10 years ago. He has planted several hundred Deciduous and conifer trees. Lining his driveway (about 1000 feet) he has an assortment of Red Oak, Pin Oak, and just a couple of White Oaks that were all planted as sapplings. They have been in the ground for aprox. 7-8 years.

The interesting thing is that a few weeks ago we noticed that one of the Red/Pin Oaks was leaning over pretty badly. We walked over to investigate and noticed that the tree had several clusters of acorns! I have heard that as young as 25 years old Oak's will start producing acorns but most often not until about 50 yrs old. Can anyone verify this info for me. Is this a special/unique tree, just a freak of nature, or am I misinformed?

I spend most of my time planting conifers, and this would be a huge deal finding a specimen that would cone at a young age, but being deciduous, I am a little lost myself. All that I know is that it is unusual, I think. Please advise and I will pass the info along to my neighbor. Thanks.


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I've seen acorns on oaks 5-6 years old. It doesn't happen often, but it is known. More generally, they start producing around 10-20 years old if in full sun.

The 50-year thing so often claimed in books is for oaks growing in dense forest conditions with heavy side shade from other competing trees.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 1:27PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i planted 6 to 8 foot [what 2 meters or so] ... bare root oaks in 4/2000 .... they were about 1 inch caliper i recall ... but i dont know how old they were ...

all 35 of them have produced acorns .... most within 5 years ...

most are now 20 to 30 feet tall ... and at least 6 inch caliper ... 2 retards .. lol ...

i hope you can glean what info you want from this ...

pshaw on the suggestion that it takes 50 years for oaks to acorn ... i like resin's suggestion ... in that regard


    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 1:38PM
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I've seen Live Oaks produce acorns at a young age. I saw some in a parking lot that were only planted about 7 years ago already loaded with acorns.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 1:48PM
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Thanks. Ken and Resin...If I'd have known I was going to get answers from you two, I would have just posted in the Conifer forum!!!

They are all in full sun. They range from 6 feet tall to 15 feet. He got them all from the county extension office, so they were small and young when planted.

What you both said DOES make sense though...Thanks.

My neighbor will be disappointed to learn that. We thought he had something special...


    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 1:55PM
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I have an upright English oak I purchased from a nursery here that was container grown in a 5gal bucket. It was about 6' (2m) or so. It had acorns on it when I planted it three years ago. I remember specifically because my son wanted to see what they looked like inside. I promptly pulled my knife out and sliced my finger open. 20 minutes later I was getting stitches.

It hasn't produced acorns since, but when last I looked at it about a month ago it looked like this might be the year.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 2:09PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

conifers are trees ....

but not all trees are conifers ....

so we do both ...


PS: ergo.. it follows.. oaks are NOT conifers... lol

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 2:25PM
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My then 8' high Burr Oak, planted in '02 - now - approx. 20' high, has been producing acorns for the past 2 years.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 8:20PM
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My Shumard oak trees were planted almost 25 years ago, at the size of 4 inch trunks.

They began producing acorns 10 - 12 years ago, and in the last 5 years have produced so many acorns I have hated the mess and work it takes to clean them up off sidewalks, and the work it takes to keep digging up the sprouted ones that I did not get picked if they had become hidden under a holly bush or other full type landscape item.

Also in the spring over those years, tons of acorns I missed sprout in the yard and keep growing faster and taller than the grass grows before it would normally need to be mowed.

My mature Scarlet oak that was only one foot tall when I planted it 20 years ago, only began producing such a noticable crop of acorns about 2 years ago. This tree is growing in the backyard and as of yet I've not noticed it's acorns causing so much problems.

I have a 10 year old Shumard oak tree that I first dug up and planted on the opposite end of my backyard when it was just a sprout that had grown from one of the acorns dropped from one of my now mature Shumard oaks.

It has been dropping a few acorns each year since it was only 7 years old, and only in the last two years have I noticed it's acorn production getting heavy enough to begin causing problems in my landscape beds. I know the neighbor certainly will not like it once the tree grows large enough and begins producing enough acorns to cause a bad litter problem on their driveway, which is only about 15 feet away from that tree's trunk. I have been pruning it up alot to prevent it's branches from growing too near their house, so hopefully it's acorn yield will take another decade or so before that problem arises.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 9:10PM
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I am envious of those of you with TOO Many acorns. I raked up some neighbors acorns last year .. about 3 barrels full and had a fun time giving them to squirrels though out the winter.. Now that it is cold again.. the squirrels who ignored me all summer apparently remember me feeding them acorns and they come right up to me and wait.. and I can't find acorsn anywhere.. Last year was a mast year.. this year they are selling them on ebay 6 dollars plus shipping and handling .. so if the acorns ever get too plentiful.. don't pull the trees.. post an ad on craigslist and some NUT likw mw will come pick them up for you...

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 3:39PM
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My 2 Chestnut oaks 6-7 years old started having acons last year, my 10 year old pin oak had a few this year. A 16 year old N. red oak was loaded this fall. It's on land I once owned, but I can still admire the tree. Sawtooth oak seeds early but doesn't live long for n oak.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 3:57PM
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I began planting bur oaks & hybrids, about 20 years ago - and a few red oaks along the way - and have continued to plant a few oaks along with my other nut trees - most of the bur & bur-hybrids begin producing acorns around 6-8 yrs of age. Nearly 20 years out, the northern reds have yet to produce a crop.

Heavy acorn crop here this year - one of the older bur oaks in my planting had limbs bent down with the weight of the many acorns it produced; I suspect that if I raked them up, I could fill at least 3-4 5-gallon buckets with acorns.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 4:47PM
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joeinmo 6b-7a

Here is my 4 year old Texas Live Oak in SW Missouri. Already has acorns.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 8:50PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Oaks from OIKOS are often selections for early acorn production, so burr & swamp white oak from them started producing after only a couple yrs here. Late frost nixed most of them this season.

The pin oaks commonly planted, tho, do seem to take a very long time to produce.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 9:44AM
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My Compton's oaks are supposed to bear by age 8. They are 3 years in my yard, if I remember correctly. One may be 4 yrs in my yard. I bought 3 of them. The Compton's oak is Q. VirginianaX Q. Lyrata hybrids. I got those from Mossy oak natives nursery. They also have early "fruiting" oaks.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 1:09AM
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