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My husband sent me this in an email today. He know how much I love Oak trees. I thought I’d share it.

Acorn Watchers Wonder What Happened to Crop

The idea seemed too crazy to Rod Simmons, a measured, careful field botanist. Naturalists in Arlington County couldn’t find any acorns. None. No hickory nuts, either. Then he went out to look for himself. He came up with nothing. Nothing crunched underfoot. Nothing hit him on the head.

Then calls started coming in about crazy squirrels. Starving, skinny squirrels eating garbage, inhaling bird feed, greedily demolishing pumpkins. Squirrels boldly scampering into the road. And a lot more calls about squirrel roadkill.

But Simmons really got spooked when he was teaching a class on identifying oak and hickory trees late last month. For 2 1/2 miles, Simmons and other naturalists hiked through Northern Virginia oak and hickory forests. They sifted through leaves on the ground, dug in the dirt and peered into the tree canopies. Nothing.

“I’m used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it’s something I just didn’t believe,” he said. “But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It’s a zero year. There’s zero production. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather, Simmons thought. But he hoped it wasn’t a climatic event. “Let’s hope it’s not something ghastly going on with the natural world.”

To find out, Simmons and Arlington naturalists began calling around. A naturalist in Maryland found no acorns on an Audubon nature walk there. Ditto for Fairfax, Falls Church, Charles County, even as far away as Pennsylvania. There are no acorns falling from the majestic oaks in Arlington National Cemetery.

“Once I started paying attention, I couldn’t find any acorns anywhere. Not from white oaks, red oaks or black oaks, and this was supposed to be their big year,” said Greg Zell, a naturalist at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington. “We‘re talking zero. Not a single acorn. It’s really bizarre.”
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Zell began to do some research. He found Internet discussion groups, including one on Topix called “No acorns this year,” reporting the same thing from as far away as the Midwest up through New England and Nova Scotia. “We live in Glenwood Landing, N.Y., and don’t have any acorns this year. Really weird,” wrote one. “None in Kansas either! Curiouser and curiouser.”

Jennifer Klepper of Annapolis even blogged about it. “Last year our trees shot down so many acorns that you were taking your life into your own hands if you went outside without a crash helmet on,” she wrote this month. “But this year? Forget it.”

Louise Garris lives in an Arlington neighborhood called Oakcrest, which is home to towering oak trees. When she couldn’t find any acorns, she began putting out peanuts for the squirrels. Last year, oaks in metropolitan Washington produced a bumper crop of acorns, and squirrels and other urban wildlife produced an abundance of young. This year, experts said, many animals will starve.

Garris started calling nurseries. “I was worried they’d think I was crazy. But they said I wasn’t the only one calling who was concerned about it,” she said. “This is the first time I can remember in my lifetime not seeing any acorns drop in the fall and I’m 53. You have to wonder, is it global warming? Is it environmental? It makes you wonder what’s going on.”

Simmons has a theory about the wet and dry cycles. But many skeptics say oaks in other regions are producing plenty of acorns, and the acorn bust here is nothing more than the extreme of a natural boom-and-bust cycle. But the bottom line is that no one really knows. “It’s sort of a mystery,” Zell said.

this is the link to the rest of the story:

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mz. Queen wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • I remember growing up in Virginia Beach, there were always acorns on the ground, “crunching” underfoot. My favorite thing to do was whistle with the tops, you had to strategically place the top between your thumbs and blow that was and still is the only way I can whistle with dignityestatic.

         The one year a squirrel fell out of the tree and I nursed it back to health and named it Sylvester.

      Those were the days!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jacquie6363 wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • The acorns are all being hoarded in a town call Abilene, TX for a pet squirrel name “snickers“....LOL

      A lady in my office has this pet squirrel and she has been gathering acorns.  Every day she either collected bags and bags of them from around the office area, or co-workers just bring her loads and loads of them.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      (華娃娃) ChinaDoll wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • Boy, I just realize and want to blame it on the Nutcrackers that are now playing Christmas in the theaters.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Almostfive0 wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • AWWWW 47 that’s so sweet...lol What ever happened to little Sylvester?...ummm never mind!

      Jacquie am I gonna have to make citizens arrest? Who is this acorn thief? Snicker huh!...lol



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • Snickers the squirrel and Sylvester the squirrel! Those are awesome names!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • That’s really kind of freaky!

      The line: "Let's hope it's not something ghastly going on with the natural world." made me think of the movie “The Happening” which was a really bad movie, although the concept was creepy enough about nature finally striking back.

      It will be interesting to see how this develops.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Almostfive0 wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • HaHa.. Feather I didn’t see the movie but we did go to see the Day The Earth Stood Still over the weekend. This article made me think of the movie. It is a little freaky.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Almostfive0 wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • 47 your story also reminds me of the time me and my two younger sisters found a nest of baby sparrows that had fallen from a tree.
      We had sneaked them into our bedroom hoping to have them as pets but my mom heard them chirping was going to make us put them back outside.
      We begged her to let us keep them so she caved in and got us some bird seed which we proceeded to stuff down their little throats and...never mind. I’s not a very pleasant story. Sorry ya’ll.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • This is really weird I live in London which is very urban but we have an abundance of parks (Royal Decrees that meant the land is owned by the Queen so can't be built upon) and I wlak in a huge park Battersea Park which runs parallel to the River Thames. The park is filled with trees and I noticed lasted week we had no acorns & I hadn't seen any in St.James or Green Park in central London over the last couple of weeks – how strange across the ocean we should have the same problem.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • jeanette took them! ohhhh



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Scorpion13 wrote Dec 16, 2008
    • Feather, I just saw The Happening over the weekend and that’s what came to mind as soon as I read this. Yikes! Revenge of the Oak trees.



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