Oak regeneration - promoting new growth of our oak ecosystem - is a very important component of Project QuercusTM. Rather than relying on natural regeneration when acorns fall each autumn, TLC helps increase the number of trees that grow from each year's acorns through the Acorn Roundup. People from across McHenry County gather these future oaks each fall and bring them to TLC's office in Woodstock.
From here, the acorns are delivered to Glacier Oaks Nursery in Harvard, IL where they are generously propagated and raised into young oaks that are used for future Project Quercus plantings as well as the annual oak sale that raises funds for the Third Generation Oak Fund.
TLC's Acorn Roundup is a great way to get your kids, friends, neighbors or students involved in a worthwhile project!
If you don't have oaks on your property, there are many other places you can go to collect. Look for areas that have been maintained like parks, churches, schools, golf courses, neighbors, etc. It's always good to have permission, and most people will want to help if you explain the program.
Begin checking for ripe acorns in late August, when they start dropping to the ground. Acorns are ready when the caps are easily removed without damage to the nut. They may be picked directly from the tree when ripe. Select the largest acorns from the healthiest looking oak trees, and collect only those without signs of cracks, holes, and those that feel hollow.
Acorns must be identified and labeled with the name of the species (scientific or common). If you are unsure, place a leaf from the oak tree into the bag for identification. They must also be separated based on whether they were collected from an upland or lowland area. (Example: Bur Oak acorns should be in a different bag than Red Oak acorns, and Scarlet Oak acorns collected from a lowland should be in a different bag than Scarlet Oak acorns collected from an upland.)
Check for damage before placing them in a brown grocery bag. Be sure to attach a tag to each bag listing the species name, date collected and general location of collection. Keep the acorns in a cool location, out of the sun. Deliver them to our office in Woodstock, or give us a call and we will try to pick them up as soon as possible.