Oaks are sturdy and beautiful trees, and when planted and cared for properly, they can be among the most long-lived plants. In fact, certain varieties can live for 600 years or more. Trees can be planted at any time of the year, but the best times to plant is either in early spring or late fall. Planting in the fall usually reduces the need for watering, since the infant tree will have plenty of time over the winter to develop a strong root structure. You will need a spade or shovel and about five gallons of water per tree.
Select a sunny area with plenty of room for a mature tree. Remove any sod in a two to four foot diameter around the tree's future location and set it aside. Keep digging until the hole is around two feet deep, with roughly vertical sides. Then use your shovel to chop up the pieces of sod and place them at the bottom of the hole, roots up. The grass will decompose and provide nutrients for your tree.
Hold the tree upright in the hole and fill in the space around it from the pile of topsoil. Position the tree so that it will be slightly lower than ground level, which will encourage water to flow toward the tree and help keep the soil around it moist. After adding each layer of soil, tamp it down with your feet to eliminate air pockets.
When the hole is about half full, add half of your water. This should turn the soil into very soft mud. Then fill up the rest of the hole and add the rest of the water – again, the soil should turn into a soft mud.
If you can, mulch the tree with old leaves, wood chips, compost, manure, or a circle of heavy cardboard. Mulching will help retain water around the tree's roots and will prevent weeds from forming and robbing your tree of nutrients.