Collect Acorns for the VDOF

It’s that time of year again! The Virginia Department of Forestry is requesting acorns from around the state. HMNs can log volunteer service hours for this under “Habitat Restoration/Maintenance – Acorn Collection for Virginia Tree Nurseries (DOF)” in Better Impact.

From the Virginia Department of Forestry News Release, September 8, 2022:

Every year, Virginians from all over the state collect and donate acorns and other seeds that VDOF staff
plant at the Augusta Nursery, where more than a dozen hardwood tree species get their start.
Successful seedlings are later sold to Virginia landowners, typically to reforest open lands. Trees that
begin from homegrown acorns, nuts and seeds are much more likely to thrive in Virginia’s climate.
Collection guidelines remain primarily the same as last year, with some minor adjustments to the
deadline and species list. Please drop off acorns at any VDOF office location by Oct. 14.

This year, VDOF’s collection priorities 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
• Willow Oak

“We are happy to report record-setting seedling production numbers at VDOF’s Augusta Nursery this
year,” said State Forester Rob Farrell. “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. Please support these encouraging trends by
collecting acorns and donating them so we can collectively grow the forests of tomorrow.”

“Each fall, Virginia is covered with acorns and folks wonder what to do with them,” said Assistant
Forestry Manager at the Augusta Nursery Josh McLaughlin. “Collecting acorns and donating them to
VDOF is a huge help to us, presents a great activity for environmentalists 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.”

Drop-off details and locations:
Please drop off your collected acorns and nuts at any VDOF office location by Oct. 14.
HMNs can drop off at the Augusta Center, 90 Forestry Center Lane, Crimora, VA 24431

Keep these tips in mind:
• Safety first. Stay away from roadways.
• Do not collect on private property without permission.
• Collection from yards, sidewalks, driveways, etc., is recommended, to ensure collection of a
single species. (Forest collection makes it difficult to determine the tree of origin and may lead
to mixing of acorn species.)
• Do not collect damaged, cracked or dried out acorns/nuts.
• Avoid sticks, leaves, gravel and debris, but acorn caps are okay. (When the caps remove easily it
means the acorns are ready for harvest.)
• Place in a breathable bag, such as paper (best), burlap or cloth. Do NOT use plastic bags.
• Use a separate bag for each species.
• Label the bag with the collection date and species if known (e.g.; willow oak). If you’re not sure,
include a few leaves from the tree to aid nursery staff with identification.
• Don’t allow acorns to freeze, heat up or dry out.
• Place in a cool area until you’re ready to drop them off at VDOF.

For more information about acorn collection, or help identifying tree species, contact the Augusta
Nursery at (540) 363-7000 or visit the VDOF website.

The full News Release is here.