Ping, crunch go the acorns

Posted by crosenbl on September 23, 2010 

I hear them at night.


I hear them under my feet.


The acorns have been falling like hail for weeks now from the oaks towering over my house. They ricochet off the cars, striking sharp metallic notes. They have carpeted my yards so that walking across them is like stepping on marbles.

It's gotten to the point where my family should wear hard hats while outside in case the wind unleashes another barrage.

In my neighborhood, cars crunch by, so many acorns have been raked into the street.

We've had acorn years before, but not like this. What's going on? A perfect acorn storm, it would seem. Red oak acorns take two years to produce; heavy production, according to a University of Illinois Cooperative Extension web site, occurs every three to five years.

White oaks, on the other hand, take a year to produce acorns and have heavy crops every five to seven years.

Given that oaks may have off years, we're looking at a rare convergence.

They're a hassle to rake, and they smart bouncing off the top of the head. But at least the acorns make some of my neighbors happy, the ones with bushy tails.

"It's a real bumper crop, which is a real boon for all wildlife going into the winter," David Jackson, a Penn State forest resources extension educator, told me. "They're going to have a lot of fat reserves."

I just wish the critters would hurry up and bury them faster.

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