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Acorns...Chicken Little's Sky

On the edge of the parking lot at work is a huge old White Oak Tree. In the past 3 weeks, this tree has let loose an unbelievable amount of acorns. I literally scooped them up with a shovel! (Just for "clean up" purposes - baiting is not allowed in these parts!) Which got me thinking of what I know about acorns:

  • White oak acorns have less tannin than red oaks - therefore sweeter to eat for animals and humans.
  • Humans CAN eat them, but they need to be "leached" first by boiling in water, dumping the brown water and repeating until the water is mostly clear.
  • Insects like acorns. Uninfested acorns will sink to the bottom of bucket of water, infested ones float.
  • Acorn production varies but normally alternates each year - strong one year, weaker the next, strong again the next year.
  • Oak wilt is a disease infecting oak trees. It spreads through connected root systems or to new oak groves via "wounds" on healthy trees. If you have oak wilt in your area, don't open a wound (cut through bark, break a branch) in spring or summer.
  • An acorn is what prompted Chicken Little to think the sky was falling.
Here's some good sites on acorns:
Acorns Big Adventure - A fun little online game; Acorn can collect mushrooms, jump, and shoot with little acorns!
Harvesting the Wild: Acorns - By Jackie Clay - a great article on harvesting/preparing to eat; recipes included.
Interesting Facts About Oak Trees - A fairly technical article about oaks and acorns.
Identify, Prevent, and Control Oak Wilt - Not about acorns, but about the mama tree's health.
The Sky Is Falling fable - Everything Wikipedia knows about Chicken Little's story

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