Reasons why your lawn is filled with acorns this fall season

Elyse Smith Image
Monday, November 6, 2023
Why are there so many acorns in southeast Texas? Houston Community College horticulture teacher explains more about acorn season
One thing to notice about the acorns is its color, especially if it's green or brown. A HCC horticulture instructor says acorn-filled lawns seem to be a trend in many neighborhoods across southeast Texas.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Have you noticed that acorns seem to be in an abundance across southeast Texas this fall? That's because many oak trees are experiencing a mast year, which is somewhat thanks to the hot and dry summer.

To learn more about this acorn season, ABC13 Meteorologist Elyse Smith spoke to Ikenna Ikwuemesi, who is a horticulture instructor at Houston Community College.

A mast year is when a fruit or nut-bearing tree, like an oak tree, makes an abundance of their fruits or nuts. And mast years only happen every two to five years. So if you're cleaning up a bunch acorns around your home this year, you probably won't have to for a few more.

One thing to notice about the acorns is its color and whether it is green or brown. In fact, brown acorns are good. This is a sign that the acorn was able to grow, mature, and fall naturally from the oak tree. Green acorns aren't as good of a sign. When green acorns fall from the same tree that is producing brown acorns, that's a sign that the tree is under stress from its environment. There are too many acorns and not enough nutrients to supply them all. So the tree has to shed extra acorns.

Brown acorns are the ones animals like squirrels can eat. With a surplus of them this fall, Ikwuemesi is expecting a potential surge in the local squirrel population next year because of it.

While that's good news for them, these acorns aren't so fun for humans. Acorn-filled lawns seem to be a trend in many neighborhoods right now. And while they may be a pain to clean up, acorns don't do much more damage than that. They can decompose naturally. And if they get swept into your lawn mower, they won't damage it. Ikwuemesi said one of the best ways to clean them up is by using something to suck them up like a vacuum after you recently mowed.

And not to jinx the wintertime forecast, but Ikwuemesi did mention that farmer's folklore links a "mast season" to a "harsh winter." However, he mentioned that there is no proof to that statement.

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