The Virginia Department of Forestry is seeking 12 species of acorns and nuts that can be planted at its Augusta Forestry Center in Crimora, Va. to grow into tree seedlings that will become the forests of tomorrow.
“Some acorns and nuts can be difficult to find in the region surrounding the tree nursery in Augusta County, and purchasing acorns can be expensive. Each year we ask Virginia landowners to collect acorns so that we can use them for planting hardwood trees in our nursery. By next year, those acorns will have grown into seedlings that landowners across the state can then purchase to plant on their property,” said Assistant Forestry Center Manager Joshua McLaughlin.
Virginia landowners interested in sharing their acorns or nuts are asked to follow these guidelines:
During September and early October, it is easy to pick up nuts in many yards and parking lots. Try to avoid trees in more heavily forested areas because there may be different species of trees nearby, making it difficult to sort the nuts by species for proper planting. It doesn’t matter if acorns still have the caps on them or not.
Place the nuts in a breathable sack or bag (no plastic, please). Minimize debris in the bag (e.g., leaves, sticks, gravel). On the bag, please label the species and date of collection.
Once the nuts are collected, place in a cool area (like a fridge or basement) until you are ready to drop them off at a VDOF office. Nuts must be delivered to a VDOF office by Oct. 17.
The species the tree nursery needs this year are: black oak, black walnut, Chinese chestnut, chestnut oak, northern red oak, pin oak, sawtooth oak, southern red oak, swamp chestnut oak, swamp white oak, white oak, and willow oak.
“Donating acorns and nuts to the VDOF nursery is fast and easy, but the tremendous appreciation we have for those who do is long lasting,” McLaughlin said.
Little acorns grow into mighty trees, like this champion oak in Eastville, pictured before it lost a limb in a March 2019 storm.
Photo by Jordan Endahl.