If you’ve got oak trees in your yard, you probably are familiar with the task of raking up tons of acorns in the fall. But recently we’ve been hearing from many of our readers and followers on social media, in areas such as Illinois, Tennessee, and Rhode Island, that their oaks are dropping acorns—small green ones—like crazy, in the middle of summer! What does this mean, and does it indicate anything about the upcoming winter weather?
Typically, acorns “fall” around fall—in boom and bust cycles—to help plant new trees and to provide a nutritious food source for a number of critters. But when the acorns are green and dropping early, it indicates the tree is under some kind of weather-related stress.
Acorns, when they’re ready to drop, are typically brown or tan in color. If your trees are shedding acorns prematurely it’s a sign that they are focusing their energy on other things rather than seed production.
Summer Tree Stressors
A tree’s stress can be from too much rain, too little rain, a too-hot summer, or other factors. But it’s usually dependent on local conditions. In fact, just like “mast years” can happen in Virginia but not in neighboring North Carolina, the same is true for stressed-out trees dropping green acorns. It’s not happening everywhere.
Acorns and Winter Weather Folklore
In our 20 Signs of a Hard Winter article, we explore the folklore behind some of the signs nature gives us about winter weather. One of them is acorns dropping in great numbers as a sign of a harsh winter ahead. But this usually refers to the brown acorns falling in the fall months.
So what’s your acorn situation? Are you seeing lots of green acorns on the ground in your backyard already? And what has the summer weather been like where you live? Let us know in the comments below.