HomeNewsNutty question: Are there an unusual number of acorns this year?
Nutty question: Are there an unusual number of acorns this year?
November 20, 2023
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Any visitors to Zilker Park this fall may have noticed an extra CRUNCH to their step. Dozens upon dozens of acorns are littering the park. It’s not just there either, backyards, lawns, sidewalks, all coated in a nice crunchy layer of nuts. So what’s the deal?
“Unfortunately, we don’t have someone who goes around and studies all the acorns on the ground to see if we’re sure enough getting, you know many more this year than other years, but it does anecdotally at least appear that there are a lot of acorns dropping right now,” said John Davis, a biologist for the City of Austin.
According to Davis, acorns are the seed of oak trees. They typically drop to the ground in the fall. Oaks can be found all across Central Texas, with several varieties.
While we were dealing with the hottest summer on record and a severe drought, so were these oak trees. Davis says that during severe weather, many plants and wildlife take some unique actions to survive. In the case of the oak, it produces extra acorns.
“It’s like after a very hard season, they put out a lot of seed to hopefully ensure their success into the future,” Davis said.
Recent rains arrived too late to impact this emergency planning, but strong winds likely knocked many acorns off of the trees, which explains why we’re seeing them now.
“I did see that at my house. I have a live oak in my yard during the windy storms that came through the lots of acorns on the ground,” Davis said.
Should you be worried about The Great Acorn Fall?
Outside of getting plopped in the head by an especially large acorn, they pose no risk to humans. In fact, local wildlife thrives on the extra acorns.
“An oak tree will feed over 400 species of wildlife. And one of the main food products is the acorn,” Davis said.
Because of this, Davis said you should leave your acorns in the yard this winter. He also said that you should avoid raking leaves, as many pollinators live there during the colder months.