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Why Are My Trees Dropping Acorns Like Crazy?

Why Are My Trees Dropping Acorns Like Crazy?

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?

Green acorns on an oak are a common sight in summer.

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.

Tell Us:

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.

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  • Laurel says:

    No acorns here in western Connecticut. Saw a few green ones the other day. Last year, we had a bumper crop of brown ones.

  • Lonnie says:

    Not only is there early leaf drop here in Fairfield, CA, but there are just as many green acorns on the ground. They can be heard hitting the roof all day long. This has been going on for weeks. Many other tree varieties also seem to be maturing earlier than normal.

  • Elle says:

    I live in East Tennessee. Green acorns this week. Hot and humid with a lot of rain this year, though we didn’t reach 100 degrees that I recall, which is unusual. My garden didn’t produce, either too wet or too dry. My neighbor planted 4 rows of beans and only managed to can 4 quarts out of it. It has been a much cooler September than last year.

  • Rob Berliner says:

    Winfield Illinois, more acorns this year than the previous 17 years. Green acorns started falling in early August and have continued at a feverish pace. As we sit in the yard they are starting to drop brown acorns. It has been a dry hot summer here.

    • Anja Van Tongeren says:

      Same here in California. Started dropping off green acorns in August and is still continuing in September. Makes you wonder what’s happening.

  • Richard Allen says:

    Hi from the sunny UK.
    Not just a US phenomenon, here in the UK too. Had a hot/dry summer and we have lots of green acorns dropping early from our Oaks in the garden.

  • Becky Graham says:

    We are seeing an abundance of green acorns. Sounds like we are being bombed when they fall. We have had a hot summer here in Michigan. Is this a sign of a harsh winter?

  • Rich says:

    Clearlake Oaks, CA:
    My oak tree by the driveway dropped all of its acorns in June/July and now the leaves have all turned, like it just died. The leaves have not fallen. It has been a hot summer 100+ for weeks (as normal). But we have had a lot of smoke and little wind to bring in fresh air. Conditions around the tree have not changed. We were told that this tree did have some sort of fungus, about 6 years ago, a bit of mistletoe, and lost a couple of branches in April, just before the heat.

    Only 1 other oak tree dropped a lot of green acorns early, but still has plenty browning. This tree is on the other side of the property and green. Some of its branches will need to be pruned this winter.

  • Mindy says:

    We live in upper S.C. and our white oaks are dropping acorns like there is no tomorrow and they are all green.

  • Kimberly Layton says:

    We live in Oroville, CA and have several Oak trees on our property full of acorns to the point that some branches are breaking off and some as big as golf balls. We had a arborist come out and inspect the worst tree in our front yard he said it just needed to be trimmed. Its been a hot summer as usual between 97 – 108 degrees here.

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