Learn to plant and maintain strong, healthy trees that will thrive for generations.

Caring for your Seedlings

Caring for oak seedlings requires an understanding of how young trees grow.

All plants need light in order to grow. If oak seedlings are grown indoors, place them near a window or skylight. Artificial light can be used if natural light is not available, but heat from lights can dry out the soil. If artificial lights are used, limit the light period to 12 hours.

Plants also need water to grow, but be careful when watering your seedling. The soil should never be soggy. Allow excess water to drain out of the container or soil fungi and bacteria will spread and damage or kill the seedling. Water gently to avoid washing soil away from the young, tender roots. When it starts to warm up outside you will need to water more often.

Oak seedlings grow best in temperatures between 65 –75 degrees F. Night temperatures should not drop below 60 degrees F. Never place seedlings in a location where they receive a constant flow of air from the furnace air ducts or their leaves will dehydrate. Seedlings will benefit from occasional gentle misting.

The seedlings should be taken outdoors during the day when they start to sprout leaves (for photosynthesis) and taken in at night so animals or people can’t harm them.

You may want to make a poster for the classroom with these reminders:

  • Saturate the seedlings with water.
  • Wait until the soil almost dries out before watering again.
  • Do not allow the seedlings to sit in excess water.
  • Keep the soil temperatures steady and not too hot.

If you take good care of your seedling, it might grow to be a giant oak tree!

Return to Activity 2: Caring for your Seedlings