Ask a Question forum: Transplanting Bur Oak sapling

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Mariposa California
Sep 16, 2017 3:35 PM CST
I have a healthy 24" tall Bur Oak I'd like to transplant into it's final spot. Research says to transplant it in December; where I live that would be transplanting it with a good chance of there being a foot of snow on the ground and @ least 5 months of hard freezes until Spring thaw. This seems like pretty harsh conditions to subject a sapling to. Am I being overly cautious, it took me 3 years and 50 acorns to get this one to sprout and thrive, I really don't want to kill it.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Sep 16, 2017 4:37 PM CST

I'm from Oakdale, just down the hill from Mariposa.

When you say 'transplant', do you mean its in the ground and you wish to move it to another location? Or that you have grown it in a pot and wish to put it in the ground?

If its in the ground, where its growing now is where its going to stay. Oaks spend the first year of their lives sending down a tap root that, on a 2 ft. tree, may be 6 ft deep.

If the tree is in a pot, the best time to put it into the ground is January or February while its in a deep sleep. Some plants transplant better when they don't notice they have been transplanted.

To germinate oak seeds, gather them the minute they hit the ground. Drop them into a pail of water with a little bleach in it (to kill any fungus on the seeds). Toss out all the seeds that float (they have bugs). Plant the seeds in deep pots (to allow room for that taproot). Place them outside someplace protected from squirrels but not protected from weather (they need that freezing weather to break dormancy). They should sprout in the spring - you may not notice though as the roots are growing down. Sometimes you can see the little 'U' going into the soil and sometimes the seed is pushed up by the root going down. The best soil to use is whatever dirt your yard is made from.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost


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