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Grown Here at Home: VDOF needs help collecting acorns, deadline approaching

The Virginia Department of Forestry needs your help collecting acorns.
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 7:23 AM EDT
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CRIMORA, Va. (WDBJ) - The trees in our hometowns make our region a beautiful place to live. The Virginia Department of Forestry needs your help to keep our trees thriving and all you need to do is send them your acorns.

“We try to represent seed source from all over the state. Some places of the state will produce acorns one year and other parts won’t. So having the public be able to collect for us or point us in the right direction is always a positive thing,” said Joshua McLaughlin, Assistant Forestry Manager at the VDOF Augusta Forestry Center.

The acorns will be planted at the Augusta Forestry Center, where they’re expanding the nursery and will be planting several more acres of seedlings. From handfuls to buckets, they’ll take what you have.

The nursery specifically needs: Black Oak, Black Walnut, Chinese Chestnut, Chestnut Oak, Live Oak, Northern Red Oak, Pin Oak, Southern Red Oak, Swamp Chestnut Oak, Swamp White Oak, White Oak and Willow Oak.

McLaughlin says there are some things to keep in mind when collecting acorns.

“Put them in a breathable sack that’s like a plastic feed sack, or a burlap sack or a paper bag is always the best,” he said.

Label the bag with the species and collection date, and place them in a cool place, like your fridge or basement, until you’re ready to send them off. You can drop off or mail them to your local forestry office. Go to the Virginia Department of Forestry website. Click on Find a Forester and it’ll tell you where your local office is. The acorns must be delivered by Friday, October 15.

“We’ll take those acorns and soak them in water. The good ones will sink and the bad ones will float,” McLauglin explained.

He added, “This year our goal is to plant 6,000 pounds of White Oak, which ends up being three tons, that’s a lot of acorns. But roughly one out of every three or four will actually become a tree.”

The seedlings will then be sold to forestland owners and the public. The money will go toward keeping the nursery going.

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