Planting native oak in the Pacific Northwest

The extent of oak woodland and savanna habitat in the Pacific Northwest has been dramatically reduced since settlement in the mid-1800s. This report presents a practical guide for landowners and managers who are interested in reestablishing native oak by planting seedlings. Keys to successful establishment are (1) planting quality seedlings, (2) controlling competing vegetation to increase soil water availability, and (3) protecting seedlings from animal damage. A variety of effective cultural treatments, including mulch and tree shelters, are described in detail. Although early growth rates of planted oak seedlings are quite variable, even within the same site, this variation decreases over time after the seedlings become established.

The goal of this guide is to provide information to help Pacific Northwest landowners and land managers through the process of establishing native oaks (Quercus spp.). Although none of the treatments or techniques mentioned here are mandatory for planting oak seedlings, they are all designed to increase the chance of success. This guide is primarily aimed at restoration plantings, from hundreds to thousands of seedlings, but most of these techniques also can be used by a landowner interested in planting oak on a much smaller scale. Additional information sources are listed at the end of the guide.