are the acorns?
10 years ago, my husband planted pin oaks around his duck pond in
the hope of getting acorns to attract ducks. Recently he was
told that they do not produce acorns until they are about 20 years
old. Is it true? Can the acorn production be accelerated
by judicious pruning? Poor husband, who is 78 this year!
pin oak (Quercus palustris) is a native of North America.
It is commonly grown for its pyramidal habit, green leaves which
turn red in Autumn, and fast-growing nature. Trees can reach
35 metres in height and can live to at least 140 years of age. The
name appears to come from either the "pin knots" found in the wood,
or short pin-like stubs found on the lower trunk. Pin oaks
do best in full sun and moist, acidic soil, but will tolerate partial
shade and drier soils if given summer watering. The acidic
soil is very important, with neutral or alkaline soils leading to
discolouration of the foliage.
It is true that pin oaks
usually take 20 years to produce acorns, but some trees have been
reported to fruit after 15 years in North America. Many Northern
Hemisphere trees grow much faster in New Zealand than in their native
range, so I would start getting hopeful in a few years that some
of your husband's trees might give him some acorns for his ducks!
Pruning is a good idea
to maintain the tree form and let light in, but is unlikely to quicken
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH