Virginians can help preserve native tree species by collecting acorns and seeds from 11 species and delivering them to the nearest office of the Virginia Department of Forestry.
“Generally, the best time to collect acorns is the last week in September through the first week of October,” said Josh McLaughlin, nursery forester. “Every bag of acorns and seed collected by citizens will help us keep Virginia beautiful.”
The species most needed are: Alleghany Chinkapin; Chinese Chestnut; Hazelnut; Black Oak; Chestnut Oak; Northern Red Oak; Pin Oak; Sawtooth Oak; White Oak; Willow Oak, and Black Walnut.
“Lawns or paved areas are ideal collection sites,” McLaughlin said. “A single tree located in these areas makes identifying the acorns easier.” He added that you should not collect from trees in the forest, since it can be difficult to identify acorns when many different species are nearby.
McLaughlin reminds anyone who is interested in collecting acorns or seed to: not use plastic bags to hold the acorns or seed; identify the tree species on the non-plastic bag, and to not combine acorn or seed from different tree species in the same bag.
Acorn collecting will be the focus of VDOF’s exhibit at this year’s Virginia State Fair. Visitors can see samples of acorns and talk to VDOF representatives about collecting. Can’t make it to the fair? You can learn more about acorn collecting online at the VDOF website.