Collect Acorns!

Hello to white oak friends!

The good news is that the project to help restore Quercus alba to depleted shipbuilding and barrel-making forests is now planting trees. Some of them have grown from acorns we collected. Nurseries like to get White Oak acorns.

For the next few weeks the acorns are turning from green to brown. That is the right time to pick them. September here in the canal area. Cold weather onset may vary the timing. Picking them off the white oak trees is best but collecting them soon after they fall is good. You should not pick them before they are starting to turn brown and the cap will remove easily. Many animals will try to get them before you do. If they lie for some days a root will emerge and they will be fragile but still ok. In fact, a small root protruding means it is good.

Some things to note:

Make sure it is a white oak tree. The leaves with deep lobes and rounded tips are characteristic. There are no small points on the ends of the lobes. The White Oak acorns do NOT have small black stripes like a similar oak. Computer Search white oak and you can find pictures.

The cap can and will often come off. If you pull the cap off and it tears the cap or nut by taking off the cap, that acorn was not ripe. Leave the cap on or off. A small hole in the nutshell means that a bug has ruined that acorn for planting. If you wish to test for viability, put the acorns in water. If it floats it is not good. Good acorns sink.

Pack the acorn in a plastic bag with a small amount of moist material such as sawdust, peat, sphagnum moss, or even paper. Zip lock bags are ideal because it is important to keep some moisture with the nuts Keep them cool, not frozen. Your refrigerator is ideal. Send it soon in some package that will not rattle the acorns. “FRAGILE” If necessary, I will reimburse expenses.

Send only White Oak Acorns and please include a LEAF and twig for I.D. purposes. The nursery will identify the acorns. Other acorns may be used by the nursery. The nursery will “stratify” the acorns for an important period of days of cold exposure and then plant them in late winter.

Please include: general LOCATION (e.g. - Town, State) and DATE of collection. Your I.D. if you wish.

Mail To either or both:

Prof. Kamal Mohamed

Rice Creek Field Station Director   

322 Shineman Center

Oswego, NY 13126


David Lee – NYS DEC

Saratoga Tree Nursery

2369 Route 50 S

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

One of the web sites that an Internet search of “how to grow an oak tree” is:

Please extend this project to responsible others.

Cheers for Quercus alba

George Pauk

cell: 602 538 0938