Question of the Week: December 26, 2019 – Number 2
“What can I do to stop all these acorns?”
Acorns cover the ground beneath just about every oak tree in Texas right now. That is, unless you’ve already taken corrective action to get them picked up. You can rake them up or blow them into the corner and pick them up with a shovel. Lower-power lawn vacuums will pick them up, too.
But the bigger question I’m asked is if there is anything that can be done to prevent them – in so many words, to render the trees “fruitless?”
The answer is “No.” There are no sprays that will accomplish that task. Cottonless cottonwoods and fruitless mulberries are special selections that are propagated asexually (without seeds, generally by cuttings or grafting). We don’t have any good way of doing that with regular oaks on a big-time basis.
However, there is one ray of sunshine. Oaks, like pecans and other nut-bearing crops, are alternate-bearing trees. That means that they’ll have a big crop of pecans one year and a slim crop the next (perhaps even no crop). So don’t feel like this bonanza crop of acorns is going to repeat every year.
Don’t rev up the chain saw just yet. All things considered, having acorns on the ground for a few days is a tiny price to pay for the great tree you get in return.