Mystery of Missing East Coast Acorns

“Once I started paying attention, I couldn't find any acorns anywhere. Not from white oaks, red oaks or black oaks, and this was supposed to be their big year. It's really bizarre!”

- Greg Zell, Long Branch Nature Center, Arlington, Virginia

Acorns on Black Oak, Quercus velutina. Image from Virginia Dept. of Forestry.
Acorns on Black Oak, Quercus velutina. Image from Virginia Dept. of Forestry.
 Oak forest in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, region of East Coast where botanists confirmed there were no acorns at all on the ground or in the trees of certain areas extending from Washington, D. C. up along I-95 north to New England and Canada. Image provided by Rod Simmons, Alexandria Field Botanist.
Oak forest in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, region of East Coast where botanists confirmed there were no acorns at all on the ground or in the trees of certain areas extending from Washington, D. C. up along I-95 north to New England and Canada. Image provided by Rod Simmons, Alexandria Field Botanist.

December 21, 2008  Alexandria, Virginia -  This fall, Greg Zell, a naturalist working at the Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington, Virginia, went to one of the many oak forests that have long grown around Arlington, Alexandria, Virginia, and in Maryland forests. He wanted to gather a lot of oak acorns to feed flying squirrels in a program run by the Long Branch Nature Center. Greg was in for a surprise. “I couldn't find any acorns anywhere. Not from white oaks, red oaks or black oaks, and this was supposed to be their big year. We're talking zero. Not a single acorn. It's really bizarre!”

 

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