AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - The Augusta County Tree Nursery continues gathering and sorting this year’s acorn collection. We spoke with the
Virginia Department of Forestry’s Assistant Nursery Manager, Joshua McLaughlin, about why your acorn donations are important. The Virginia Department of Forestry needs your help with acorn collections this fall. (WDBJ7)
Collecting acorns is important because we want to get a good representation of all the genetics that Virginia has to offer. The main goal about acorn collection for us is one, help us get better genetics. Two, to educate people to learn more about what the department of forestry does and learn about acorns and three, the bottom line is have a good crop to sell to the public for reforestation, wildlife enhancement, aesthetics, whatever your desire is. This year, October 14th is our cut off date and the reason we do that is we start planting acorns in the middle of October. They get sorted and processed here and that’s done by making sure we clean them and then we will actually float the acorns. So good ones will sink and bad ones will float. It’s a good process if you have a girl scout or a scout troop or a youth group or something it’s a great activity to do. Some of the best places to collect acorns is actually parking lots, churches, places where trees are by themselves. Somewhere where you don’t have a bunch of species mixed in together. Collecting in the woods is very hard because you can get that mix of acorns. The main things we tell people is try to keep the species separate from each other so don’t be mixing chestnut oak with white oak together. Try to keep them separate. If you’re unsure what you’re collecting put them in a paper bag with a leaf for we can ID better... put them in a paper bag which is breathable and it allows the acorns to not sweat on themselves and that’s very important. When you collect the acorns, you do not need the caps on them. We actually prefer them without the caps. That lets us know they are very mature and they fell when they were supposed to. If you see any green in your acorn that is okay. We prefer them to be brown because that means it is ripe, but if they are green they’ll still be fine. The goal at Augusta nursery is to plant a one year crop every year and grow approximately 3 to 4 million hardwoods a year. In general, the demand for seedlings is very high so the public helping us collecting acorns is a major plus. The main goal with us is we just want people to be happy.
Maybe on your next walk or playing outside with the kids you bring a paper bag with you along the way to collect acorns. The deadline to donate is October 14, 2022.
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