Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - January 16, 2012

From: Tylertown, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Trees
Title: Fertilizing oaks to produce acorns
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Will fertilizing oak trees help with acorn production?

ANSWER:

You can read the answer to your question in an almost identical previous question, but I will paste in the relevant part of that answer here:

"There is a great deal of controversy about whether fertilizing oak trees influences their ability to produce more acorns.  Indeed, there are some sources (e.g., Whitetail Stewards Inc.) that say not to waste your time and money fertilizing oaks since there are so many factors that can affect the amount of oak mast produced in any year—rainfall, genetics, general humidity, timing of late frosts, pest infestations, etc.  Additionally, the production of large crops of acorns tends to be cyclic.   Producing a heavy crop of acorns one year usually results in several years with a lower production.  For red oaks this can be a 5-7 year cycle and for white oaks it may be a 3-5 year cycle.  For a thorough discussion of the unpredictability of acorn crops see Improving acorn production - Part I: Factors affecting acorn production of oaks from Whitetail Stewards, Inc. 

Most professionals seem to agree on at least one strategy for improving the amount of oak mast—that is to insure that the oaks that appear to be the best producers are not crowded.  Trees around these high yield trees may need to be thinned so that they are not competing for sunlight and water.  Outdoor Life has an informative article, Mast Production--In a Nutshell, that gives a short lesson in oak biology and how to manage them. The U.S. Forest Service North Central Forest Experiment Station has recommendations on How to Manage Oak Forests for Acorn Production.

If you still think you would like to fertilize your oaks, it certainly is not likely to harm them.  What kind of fertilizer should you use?  You can see in the answer to a previous question about fertilizing oaks, that recommendations from professional landscapers varies.  Some say use a 'standard' fertilizer, while others recommend a 8-2-4 compost-based or a 5-10-5 mixture.  (The numbers refer to percentages of nitrogen, phosporus, and potassium.)"

 

More Trees Questions

Stage of maturity for redbud trees bloom
April 01, 2003 - At what stage of maturity will Redbud trees bloom?
view the full question and answer

Death of mature tulip tree in Raymond IL
June 06, 2010 - We have a mature tulip tree that leafed out and looked very healthy then all of the leaves turned brown and fell off. I think the tree is now dead. We live in the country and have a corn field behind ...
view the full question and answer

Xeric landscaping walls in Mansfield TX
November 15, 2009 - We have two stone, concave 10 ft. high entry walls to our private street. These are each 20 ft. in length and face the west. What xeriscaping accent plants would you recommend. Also, should we crea...
view the full question and answer

Distressed Red Oak tree in Pflugerville, TX.
July 22, 2012 - I have a large (40 ft) Red Oak tree in my yard that is distressed. It started with yellowing leaves, with darker veins. Then small brown spots appeared, followed by browning arount the leaves edges. N...
view the full question and answer

Should wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) wood be burned in a fireplace
January 29, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Pants, Could you please tell me if Wax Myrtle is a hardwood or softwood? Our neighbor had to cut down his as they had grown into trees from the previous owners. We would like to burn t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.