Can Oak Trees Grow in Pots?

  • By: TheWalledNursery
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Indeed, it's possible to cultivate an oak tree in a pot, as long as the container is of an adequate size to ensure the tree's supply of water and nutrients. This might be a favourable option if you foresee a likely movement of the tree in the future, or wish to plant an oak in locations where its natural growth would otherwise be hindered such as concrete or other artificial surfaces. 

Cultivating an oak tree in a pot does pose its challenges, as one must ensure it doesn't become dehydrated or exposed to extreme temperatures. As plants' roots aren't under the earth's surface, they're predominantly susceptible to overheating or freezing due to severe temperature fluctuations above ground. 

Oak Tree Growth

You should note that if you want an oak tree to reach its full size, it will need to go into the ground. Oak trees need around a thirty-gallon container when they are only about six feet high, and since they can get to around forty feet or taller, there simply isn’t a big enough container to put a fully grown tree in. 

If you want the tree to grow to its full size, you must plant it in the ground. However, if you can’t currently do that, it’s perfectly possible to grow a sapling in a pot, and keep it there until it reaches sizes that are unmanageable.  

Growing your oak tree from an Acorn should be kept in a small pot (6inch), for larger Acorns like bur or young grown oak need to be kept in a 1 Gallon pot.

Take into consideration transferring your oak tree often to different pots can damage the tree’s roots and can cause growth deficiency.  

Our Recommendations

Here at The Walled Nursery, we only want what’s best for you and your crops so here is our recommendation for pots are best suited for your Oak Trees growth.  

VIVOSUN 5-Pack 5 Gallon Grow Bags Heavy Duty 300G Thickened Nonwoven Plant Fabric Pots with Handles These pots are modern, heavy duty meaning it can move large amount of soil and heavy objects such as a young oak tree with ease. These pots are reused and refilled for years; all pots come with a 1 year’s warranty.  

How Do You Grow an Oak Tree in a Container?

If you wish to grow an oak in a container for a few years, until you have somewhere suitable to put it, it is a good idea to choose a small oak if possible. The larger the oak is, the more difficult it will be to keep it alive and deal with its nutrient and space needs. 

You might even want to plant an acorn in some fresh compost. Make sure you do not put a young oak into a massive container, but give it a reasonable depth and provide it with fertilizer as it grows so that it has enough food. 

What Do You Need To Be Careful About?

There are a few key things to make sure you are paying attention to when your oak tree is grown in a container, rather than the ground. The key things to consider are water, warmth, food and space. 

How Much Water is Needed to grow an young Oak tree in Pots?

When they are grown in the ground, most oaks are fairly drought resistant, especially once they have become established. They have very deep roots, and they can stretch down to find plenty of water, even when it hasn’t rained for weeks and the surface soil is parched. 

In a container, the oak only has as much water as is available in the pot. It is not able to stretch down to soak up more, and it will die of thirst if you don’t water it during dry periods. Oaks need a lot of water, so you need to pay attention

Equally, you must be careful not to water it too heavily, because the container will not drain as well as soil would, and you don’t want your oak’s roots to rot. 

How To Stop Young Oak Trees From Freezing?

One of the biggest dangers of growing a tree in a container is the risk of freezing. The ground is rarely frozen beneath the surface, and most plants cannot tolerate their roots getting too cold. The tree will die fast if you let its container freeze. 

If the weather is cold, you will need to either bring the tree indoors or insulate its container very thoroughly to keep it from getting frozen. You might be able to put some thick layers of mulch on it and move it into a sheltered spot, but this will depend on how harsh your winters are. 

Do You Need to Feed Young Oak Trees?

There is less food in a container, because again, the tree cannot stretch out its roots when it lacks certain nutrients. You will need to provide some fertilizer for your oak from time to time. It will probably only need it about once a year, but a 20-20-20 top up will help it to grow healthy and produce plenty of foliage

How Much Space is Needed to Grow Oak Trees?

Don’t let your oak get too crowded. These trees have enormous root balls, and if your oak cannot spread its roots, it may become sick and weak. 

Final Thoughts

Growing your Oak tree in a pot from a seedling is a great idea to make sure the growth process goes smoothly. Few things to consider when growing your Oak tree to ensure it grows to full size. 

Space, make sure the roots have enough room to grow. Water, Oak trees can consume up to 30 gallons of water at 6 feet tall. Weather, conditions need to stay humid, too cold and the roots could freeze.  

Do not change pots regularly stick to one size pot (Our recommendation: VIVOSUN 5-Pack 5 Gallon Grow Bags Heavy Duty 300G Thickened Nonwoven Plant Fabric Pots with Handles) where the Oak tree can grow to a suitable size from there can be planted outside in the ground.