Oak Trees
Q.

Red Oak in a pot

Zone 57701 | deenaddd added on May 8, 2018 | Answered

Someone sent us a Northern red oak tree. We have recently bought land and will be building a new home in about 2 years, so I would like to save it for planting there if possible. Can I repot it into a large pot and keep it for a few years? If so, should I bring it inside for the winter or is there anything else I would need to do to overwinter it? Any other considerations? Thanks!

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MichiganDot
Answered on May 8, 2018

No, you can't keep a tree in a container that long unless it is under 5 feet tall now. Also, trees have to develop outside; if you live where winters are cold, container plants should be heeled into the soil to protect them. You can plant it now and in 2 years, pay to have it dug up, balled and burlaped then planted at your new place. $$$ Even in a large container, tree roots will grow in a circle in 2 years (I know from experience) and are difficult to straighten in order to plant. Any left curving around will kill the tree as they get larger. Another option is to plant it now then take a stem cutting to reproduce it. However, red oaks are subject to oak wilt disease. To prevent it, recommendations are to avoid injuring the tree, especially in late spring and summer, the optimal time for taking cuttings. Also, if you are moving to a different climate, it is better to purchase trees from local growers. Not all red oaks are equally hardy; trees, shrubs and perennials should be grown close to home.

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