Difficulties collecting acorns

posted on October 13, 2009

Collecting seeds (acorns) from the OneOak tree has been a long-standing plan. Unfortunately the tree had other ideas and has produced very few acorns this year.

Growing a new generation of oak seedlings is an important part of the project as it will actively demonstrate the cycle of life and the sustainablility of growing trees. Nicholson Nurseries have kindly agreed to help the school children who collect acorns to grow them to produce oak seedlings. We plan to plant a new generation of ‘OneOaks’ in autumn 2010.

Problem acorns: small, rotten or infected with Knopper Galls

Problem acorns: small, rotten or infected with Knopper Galls

Oak trees do not produce significant crops of acorns every year. Usually, heavy crops of acorns or ‘mast years’ come once every 4-7 years. It just so happened that 2009 was not a mast year. We have looked long and hard for acorns from our OneOak tree but have found only small and half-formed acorns that would never germinate.

We decided to look elsewhere on the Blenheim Estate so that we could at least collect seeds from the cousins of our OneOak tree. Luckily, other oak woodland areas seem to have produced some acorns although the crop is still very light. Many of the acorns are small or have been infected by the Gall wasp Andricus quercuscalicis that produces the alien-looking Knopper Gall.

Andricus quercuscalicis

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