Learn about oak tree and acorn facts and how this tree nut provides food for a wide variety of wildlife. For days on end at our house, this is early autumn's tune — a slow, staccato solo for pickup-truck percussion in A for annoying minor. No matter where I move my truck in our tree-covered driveway it sits beneath an oak, and acorns come raining down on it like oversized hailstones on a tin roof.
I have 12 mature oak trees on my property which I have lived on for 23 years. This year the amount of acorns being dropped is by far the most I have ever seen. I am curious as to what is driving this productivity.
Why should we plant and care for trees? Research shows that trees clean our air, our water, and our soil. Trees make significant contributions to improve our health, sense of well being, quality of life, and our economic future.
California oaks offer a good opportunity to examine this question bothbecause of their wide distribution and their diversity. Most considerationsof masting focus on only a single species, but it is entirely plausiblethat sympatric species of oaks mast synchronously as well. In fact, suchinterspecific synchrony is predicted if masting is an adaptation to counterpredation by generalist seed predators that do not discriminate among differentspecies growing together. Currently, the most extensive data addressing this question come fromthree sites in central coastal California that we and our colleagues havesurveyed every year since
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Oak trees Quercus spp. Depending on their species, the trees are 20 to 30 years old when they produce their first acorns. Even then, acorn production is not consistent from year to year.
Viable acorns can be grown into oak trees, if properly handled. How is this done? Here are some tips from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists on how to best handle, germinate and plant acorns. To have additional questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at or hortline iastate.
The acornor oaknutis the nut of the oaks and their close relatives genera Quercus and Lithocarpusin the family Fagaceae. It usually contains a single seed occasionally two seedsenclosed in a tough, leathery shelland borne in a cup-shaped cupule. Acorns take between 6 and 24 months depending on the species to mature; see the list of Quercus species for details of oak classification, in which acorn morphology and phenology are important factors.