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Quercus (alba)

John M. Englert
USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center
Bldg. 509, BARC - East, E. Beaver Dam Road
Beltsville, Maryland 20705
(301) 504-8175
(301) 504-8741 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Fagaceae
Family Common Name: Beech Family
Scientific Name: Quercus alba
Common Name: White oak
Species Code: QUEALB
Ecotype: Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Shenandoah National Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway
General Distribution: Maine to Michigan and Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas. Found in many habitats, upland woods, as well as moist soils.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Plug + (container-field grown hybrids)
Time To Grow: 0
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Bareroot and container seedlings. Height: Bareroot material up to 12 inches, gallon size container plants 12+ inches. Root System: In containers, full root ball.
Propagule Collection: Collected in Cumberland GapNational Historical Park by J. Englert on 9/92, by J. Copeland on 9/93, 10/1/96, 9/28/99, 10/1&4/99 and 10/25/99; Shenandoah National Park by J. Kujawski on 9/12/96; George Washington Memorial Parkway by J. Kujawski on 10/9/96 and 11/5/96, by M. Kangas on 10/3/97, 10/20/98 and 9/21/00.
Propagule Processing: Seed Processing: Seeds require little processing other than sorting and removal of visibly damaged acorns (those with holes, softspots, or insects protruding). After sorting, seeds are float tested in a bucket; floating seeds are discarded after a few are cut open to verify damage. Sinking acorns are air-dried and sown as soon as possible after processing.
Seeds/Kg: Average of 305.
Germination: Average germination 13%.
Purity: Using a float test, purity is about 95%.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seed Treatments: Acorns are sown in the fall immediately after processing.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment: Outdoor nursery beds.

Seed Propagation Method: Hand-sowing seed in rows.

Container Type and Volume: Some bareroot materials are harvested and containerized in 1 gallon pots and larger.

Growing Media: Container material is grown in woody mix (3.8 cu ft. bale Sunshine #1, 4 cu. ft. of pine bark mulch, 20 oz. Nutricote and approximately 20 oz. ecto-mycorrhizae).
Establishment Phase: Sowing Date: October.

% Emergence and Date: Radicles emerge from acorns in the fall soon after sowing, but seedlings do appear above the soil surface until spring.

Sowing/Planting Technique: Seeds are dusted with fungicide and hand sown into rows (rows are 5 to 6 inches apart, seeds are sown about 1/2 inch apart in each row). Ectomycorrhizae are sprinkled over the seed before covering with 1 to 2 inches of soil. The beds are then mulched with aged sawdust. Screening against rodents may be necessary.

Establishment Phase: Sawdust mulch is scraped back in spring prior to seedling emergence. Newly emerged seedlings are monitored closely for irrigation needs.
Active Growth Phase: Rapid Growth Phase: Because National Plant Materials Center soil is a nutrient poor sandy loam, seedlings are fertilized from mid-April with a granular 10-10-10 once a week through early June. From mid-June through late July, the 10-10-10 is alternated with a granular urea every other week. From late July through late August the seedlings are fertilized with 10-10-10 every two weeks. Overhead irrigation is used after every fertilization. The rate of water applied is determined by soil moisture prior to irrigation.
Hardening Phase: Hardening Phase: During mid- to late summer, fertilization is cut back to twice monthly. Beginning in September, irrigation is only used in a severe droughty situation.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: Bareroot plants are harvested 1 to 2 years after seeds are sown. Container plants take 1 to 2 seasons beyond bareroot, depending on size of plants needed.

Harvest Date: Dormant bareroot plants are harvested in early to mid-December.

Storage Conditions: Bareroot plants are bundled into groups of 25 (or whatever is manageable), and long roots are trimmed. Bundles are placed into plastic bins; roots are covered with sawdust. Bins are placed into a cold storage room (40§F) and watered as needed during the winter. Gallon size container plants are stored outside. Containers are laid on their side on weed barrier fabric, and covered with 2 layers of a microfoam insulating blanket. The blanket is secured over plants by threading a rope over the blanket between rebar anchors on either side of a block of plants.

Seed storage: White oak acorns do not store. In fact, many acorns we have collected off the ground have already started to germinate.

Seed dormancy: None.
Length of Storage: <b>Storage Duration:</b> December to March.
References: Woody Plants of Maryland, Brown and Brown, Port City Press, Inc., 1992.

Manual of Vascular Plants, Gleason and Cronquist, D. Van Nostrand Co., 1963.


Davis, Kathy M.; Kujawski, Jennifer. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of Plug + (container-field grown hybrids) Quercus alba plants USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center Beltsville, Maryland. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/05/11). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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