An acorn is an oak tree waiting to grow.

Oak trees can be very productive some years, raining down abundant amounts of acorns with the potential to create entire forests. A healthy oak can produce up to a billion acorns (1,000,000,000) over the course of its life. That’s productive.

Not all billion acorns will end up as full grown trees, though. If they did, we’d be a happy, tree-filled planet. Acorns are a feast for a wide range of beings from tiny bugs that bore into the shells to our familiar woodland creatures. If you know how to prepare them you can make acorn flour and maybe acorn pancakes.

If it avoids being a meal, an acorn sets about becoming a tree by sending out a radical that wants to bore into the ground and become a tap root. The odds of making it this far and then growing into a sapling aren’t good and it is fun to help them along by sprouting them and giving them a nice bed of soil to grow in (and fending off hungry critters).

On good acorn years I can be found stuffing my pockets with the little brown nuggets and then squirrelling them away for the winter. In the spring we give them a nice bed to grow in and then nurture the little trees into slight bigger little trees before finding somewhere to plant them. If we can protect them from deer for about 10-20 years they may grow into healthy trees. It’s worth the effort.

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