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Acorn collection season prepares Virginia for next generation of trees

Rebecca Barnabi
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The Virginia Department of Forestry is ready for acorn season.

Gathering and sorting this year’s acorn crop is important for the preparation of growing the next generation of trees in Virginia.

Virginians are welcome to drop off acorns anytime before October 14 at a VDOF office location near you.

More than a dozen hardwood tree species get their start every year at the Augusta Nursery. Seedlings are later sold to Virginia landowners to reforest open lands. According to a press release, trees that begin from homegrown acorns, nuts and seeds are much more likely to thrive in Virginia’s climate.

“We are happy to report record-setting seedling production numbers at VDOF’s Augusta Nursery this year,” State Forester Rob Farrell said in a press release. “Thanks to additional funding provided by the General Assembly, and collection efforts by everyone across the Commonwealth last fall, we will soon have approximately 3.7 million conifer and 2.7 million hardwood seedlings available for purchase. This represents an increase of 63 percent or almost 2.5 million seedlings.”

The department’s collection priorities this year are Black Oak, Black Walnut, Chestnut Oak, Chinese Chestnut, Northern Red Oak, Pin Oak, Shumard Oak, Southern Red Oak, Swamp Chestnut Oak, Swamp White Oak, Water Oak, White Oak and Willow Oak.

“Each fall, Virginia is covered with acorns and folks wonder what to do with them,” Augusta Nursery Assistant Forestry Manager Josh McLaughlin said in the press release. “Collecting acorns and donating them to VDOF is a huge help to us, presents a great activity for environmentalist of all ages and provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about Virginia trees. Our acorn crop varies from year to year, and you can help us ensure representation from all over the state.”

For more information, visit the VDOF website or call Augusta Nursery at 540-363-7000.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.