Best mast producing oak trees

Hello all I’m new to the forum. I recently planted 50 English oak seedlings, 50 SCO seedlings and have 25 Chinkapin on the way. I’ve also planted around 2 dozen fruit trees. Everything is tubed and weed matted. Ok my real question is what oak trees have you personally seen to be the heaviest mast producers? I have a park near me that has 18 different oak species growing and by far the best of that bunch is a couple of English oaks. An associate works at the local NRCS office and commented the other day that the Oak outside his office is a very heavy producer. He was right it’s probably as heavy a producer as the English oaks in that park but I’m not entirely sure what oak it is it may be a Black oak or perhaps a Scarlet oak. I’ll know better after leaf out. I’m going to be starting some of its acorns in my rootmaker pots regardless of what specific oak it is do to it’s very very heavy mast production. Anyone else know of specific trees that are absolute rock stars in acorn production? I’d love to do a bit of acorn trading next fall for any acorns of superior genetic potential like the ones I’m speaking about. I’ve planted around 4-500 acorns this winter and about 1200 black walnuts also. Depending where those come up this spring I may tube some of them.
Welcome Chris! Sounds like you’re off to a great start. You may want SWO in the mix as they bare early here. EO’s bare early and they experience marcesense which I find to be an advantage that can be utilized. One farm I hunt has Scarlet Oak that bare every couple years. When they do drop it’s usually a bumper crop. Beautiful tree but I wouldn’t over plant them. Check out Nuttall Oak as well. They can tolerate your wet ground with a late drop time.
If you are looking for reliability and consistency year after year, nothing that I have seen will stay with Sawtooths.
While there will be differences between species in the number of acorns they produce, there will also be potentially big differences between individuals within the same species as you have already noticed. Studies have shown that one-third of the trees within a species produce approximately 75% of the acorns. Another thing to consider is how long does it take for an oak to reach the size needed to produce the maximum number of acorns. Some species will reach that size quicker than other species. Also, will the species or individual tree produce acorns every year or only two out of every five years? Here are a couple of tables from some studies that looked at acorn production amongst different species. I think the main thing would be to gather acorns from good producing trees located near you and that are adapted for your environment. Species selection could play a secondary role to finding a good producing tree that will grow on your property.

This table is from Acorn Production Prediction Models for Five Common Oak Species of the Eastern United States.


This table is from Acorn Yield and Masting Traits of Red Oaks in the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley.

Thanks for the info I had read that first study already but not the second one. I have planted sawtooth oaks idk maybe a 100 of them as acorns. I raked up two gray totes of acorns from under that one tree at the NRCS office today they are pretty picked over by the squirrels but I did get out of those two totes about 50 good acorns two of them already had just begun to sprout. I planted them all in rootmaker pots this afternoon. This morning my boys and I planted 6 more apple trees and placed about 100 weed mats on some already tubed trees. Busy week I have 25 more oaks arriving this week 6 Chinese chestnuts and 300 stratified walnuts. Next year I’ll probably order more oak seedlings but from the red oak group nuttal where already on my short list but I can only plant, tube and weed mat so many trees in one spring. I also will need to clear more ground with the CAT in areas we don’t run the cattle. This year I just fenced off about 3.5 acres for this planting. Next years area will require several days of dozer work to clear the junk trees. I’ll leave some cedars any walnuts and oaks but pretty much everything else is fair game.
So far as oaks I've planted here over the past 25 years... Bur oak has been the hands-down production winner. Seedlings have started bearing good crops by 8-10 years, bear annually and heavily. Big, sweet, ping-pong ball size acorns. Heaviest producers have been some I brought to KY from the farm just east of Rocheport MO where we lived while I was in grad school at UMC.
English oaks get powdery mildew like crazy here, but the 'McDaniel' BurxEnglish is pretty clean.
Those chinkapin oak acorns will be tiny, but they have the highest oil content of any of the white oak species, but even they pale in the oil department to almost any red/black oak species.

Gathered and planted a bunch of sawtooth acorns 20 yrs or more ago, but I dug and sold a couple hundred to a friend who was planting 'em out on his property. Only had 3 remaining in the nursery area... and I cut two of those down to inoculate bolts for Shiitake mushroom production this winter. The third will come down next fall/winter for the same purpose.
Chris, English oak trees are Quercus robur, commonly known as common oak, pedunculate oak, European oak or English oak, a species of flowering plant in the beech and oak family. It is native to 3 continents; unfortunately, not the U.S. - consequently, you won't find many grown in the wild (not even very many grown as specimen/landscape trees in urban areas. They live long, grow very big, and crank out lots of acorns!
Excerpt - "The English oak (Quercus robur) is a stately tree best known for being part of the forests and landscapes of England. It is a large species that is more commonly found in public settings like parks, though it can certainly be grown in larger home gardens if you have space. This oak tree species may live for hundreds of years. There are also columnar varieties available so you can have the look of English oak in a much narrower space."
There are 2 forms of the English Oak, the natural, big tree with a full-rounded-canopy and a "fastigiate" version usually associated with columnar-shaped hybrid oaks - e.g., Fastigiata, Skyrocket, Regal Prince, Kindred Spirit, and Crimpson Spire represent examples of hybrid columnar varieties that spread up to 15 feet wide, making it possible for more people to plant Quercus robur in their landscapes. My favorite is the Kindred Spirit (a EO cross with a swamp white oak) for screening; it gets only about 6-7 feet wide.
English Oaks are great mast producing trees; the attached photos show 2 EO's growing in less than optimal conditions (sandwiched between an asphalt parking lot and a sidewalk with yews for competition) that are about 10-12 (planted when site was developed) years old and strong producers virtually every year (my source trees for EO's). Although planted at the same time, one tree has experienced more vigorous growth (could be genetics or location factors). The last photo shows a Kindred Spirit (hybrid) when 4-5 years old and now about 10-12 feet tall.


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Bur oak are native to my area but I didn’t have any large specimens at the house or farm. I have planted several over the years at the house but only last year did one finally produce any acorns. With the cap nearly covering the entire acorn I question how much deer utilize bur oak acorns. Now if the acorns would drop free of the cap I bet they would go crazy for them but that at least in my area doesn’t seem to be the case. So I’ve not really focused on bur oaks other than yard specimens. Another tree that I somewhat question just how much it gets utilized at least in my area is persimmon we have a rather large grove of female trees that the deer don’t seem to pay much attention to now this may very well have to do with its location in a very open area of the farm probably nearly 200 yds to the closest cover. At my home place I have quite a few oaks pretty good mix of Chinquapin and NRO I released a couple of red oaks rather unintentionally about 3 years ago to open a small area for a white clover food plot well that stimulated the oaks to start really producing acorns that’s what really got me running down the acorn rabbit hole of late. I’ve since gone through my home acreage and released all my oak trees mostly thru hack and squirt. Time will tell how well that improves acorn production.
At the farm we have a handful of pin oaks and no other mast trees for literally miles around us. That’s why I started this little oak planting project something my kids and grandkids can enjoy for generations. The deer population runs around 50 per square mile at least on our place so tree protection is vital we have so much open ground that with those deer numbers the heavy cover areas get just unbelievable heavy deer browse pressure. Another real problem tree for us is honey locust I know some guys even plant this devil spawn of a tree for deer but I can tell you I would gladly eradicate it from our place it’s a horrible nuisance with thorns that puncture tractor tires it spreads from root sprouts and seed. If cut and not chemically killed it will sucker horribly from the roots turning one nightmare tree into 30 in short order.
I went to Germany last fall for a month and was blown away at the acorns on the oak trees there. I have never seen anything like it in all my years, I’m 52. According to my research they was English Oaks. I managed to get some back in my suitcase😉 and am now the proud owner of 10 beauty’s. I’m gonna name them after my Granddaughter since I picked them up in her mom and dad’s neighborhood.