Producer of acorns: Gobbler sawtooth oak

"Acorns provide nourishment to many wildlife species during fall and winter months," said Bryan Burhans, NWTF Director of Land Management Programs. "One tree that wildlife flocks to is the gobbler sawtooth oak, which is a great producer of acorns."

The gobbler sawtooth oak is a variety of sawtooth oak developed from acorns taken from a tree in Maryland in the 1960s. Its range includes eastern Texas and Oklahoma to the northeastern states of New Hampshire and Massachusetts and the entire Southeast, excluding the Florida Peninsula.

Winter hardy and adapted to the high rainfall in the eastern United States, the gobbler sawtooth oak grows well in open, unshaded areas with well-drained, sandy loam or clay-loam soils. These trees can reach 70 feet in height with four- to eight-inch leaves. With acorns considerably smaller than the sawtooth oak, this tree variety can produce 150 nuts per pound. Well-maintained gobbler sawtooth oaks start producing acorns at five to eight years of age.

Planting tips

This oak species can be planted as one- or two-year-old seedlings. For maximum acorn production, plant seedlings 20 feet apart in good sunlight. The best time to plant a gobbler sawtooth oak is from fall through spring. However, plant acorns in early fall three-quarters of an inch to one-inch deep in the ground.

When planting seedlings, clear vegetation three feet in diameter from around your planting site.

Dig a hole deeper than what the seedling was planted in the nursery bed.

Place two slow release fertilizer packets in the bottom of the hole and cover with one to two inches of soil.

Plant the seedling a little deeper than it was planted at the nursery. Until the seedling becomes established, keep the planting site clear of vegetation competing for its water and nutrients.

Growing mast-producing trees on your land is an excellent way to provide an additional food source for wild turkeys and other wildlife, such as white-tailed deer and small game. Planting several species of oak together will ensure wildlife has acorns available, if one or more species have poor mast-production years.

Material from the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Visit the web site at www.nwtf.com