The news has been mixed for Iowa’s field crops, but another harvest is coming in heavy , acorns from the millions of oak trees in the state. ISU extension forester Paul Wray says it depends on where they’re growing. He says it’s been a good year for burr and white oaks, not so good for red oaks, and it varies depending where you are in the state. A lot of things influence the “crop,” and some trees take two years to produce their acorns so there are two growing seasons of factors. Wray says insects, frost in spring, and the size last year’s crop will affect whether the tree has the strength and carbohydrate store to produce a big crop this year year. He says in some years, the squirrels almost go hungry, but last year and this year we had a “bumper crop,” possibly in part because of last year’s warm weather. The harvest can be a cash crop, as Wray says a market for acorns has been growing the past five to ten years. He says some individuals want to plant them, nurseries buy some, and contractors who reestablish forests will pay 25 to 30 dollars in some cases for a bushel of acorns from a red oak. For tree owners getting tired of crunching across the acorns, a new device called the “Bag-a-Nut” has been adapted from a Florida pecan-picking machine.
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