Saturday, October 19, 2013


A medium size live oak is growing in my back yard. It's canopy spreads out over my outbuilding. For the last few weeks this oak has been dropping acorns, many of which land on my steps. This photo was taken last Wednesday during the rain.

According the web site for the Winter Park Live Oak Fund, "Oak trees produce acorns once per year during the Fall. An individual tree’s acorn production varies year to year, with the strongest production normally alternating every other year. Late Spring frost can blight the flowers and stunt or prevent acorn development, and of course drought and insects can decimate crops. Acorn production typically increases over the long run, in proportion to the size of an individual tree’s canopy. An average 100-year old Oak will produce around 2,200 acorns per year

"Oh yes, we almost forgot the one acorn question you really wanted to know the answer to: Only 1 acorn in 10,000 will grow up to be an Oak tree."

I am careful when I walk down my back steps. Acorns under feet can act like ball bearings, sending you on a merciless, rib-crunching slide.

Our most recent Ocracoke Newsletter is a compilation of humorous stories told by or about islanders. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:18 AM

    Spoken like someone all too familiar with one of those merciless, rib-crunching slides.

    To the point of the 1:10,000 odds, do you have any insight into human efforts to propagate live oaks, as opposed to just leaving it up to Mother Nature? Just curious whether the odds improve if someone plants the seeds, nurtures the seedlings, provides protective fencing around young trees, etc.

    Thanks as always, Philip.

  2. Anonymous12:33 AM

    I noticed the abundance of live oak acorns this past week when I was on the island. I even brought a few home to try and plant. (although after seeing the 1:10,000 odds, i will probably just carry them around in my pocket. One of my grandfathers used to talk about people carrying an acorn around for luck. I hadn't thought about that in years, but may have to take it up (although the real luck would be not losing them too quickly)

    Your comments on the nature of the island are always insightful and I am always learning something new.

  3. Tom Cain11:46 AM

    Having just left the island Saturday, I concur with the abundance of live oak acorns! I was getting pelted by them in my shower! I also understand the 1:10,000 issue. I think it is because my crazy dog, Hunter, must think he's a deer. He chowed down on the other 9999 each day while I was in the shower. He loves the things and they don't bother his stomach as Leonard's dog treats at the coffee shop do!