What Does It Mean When Acorns Fall Early? – Guide

Young acorn growing on oak with green leaves, early development stage.

Are you wondering why acorns fall early?

It is common to see fruit trees bloom, burst, and produce fruits earlier or later than the expected season. Also, it is natural to see fruit trees failing to produce even a single fruit with all the favoring factors in check. Oak trees, in this instance, will produce acorns and fall earlier than expected.

Why is this so?

Many reasons can make acorns fall early. When you see green acorn fruits on the ground, the Oak tree has started to fall its fruits earlier or prematurely than expected. An acorn will assume a tan color when it falls at the right time.

When Acorns Fall Early, It Can Mean Several Different Things

  • Ether there was scorching weather.
  • There was a stretch of prolonged rainfall and frost.
  • There was probably poor pollination.
  • It might be because of poor health or diseases.
  • The tree was undergoing a stress condition.
  • Either due to strong prevailing winds.
  • Insects, birds, and rodents might be the cause.

Below is an analysis that will help you to understand why acorns suddenly start to fall early.

Reason #1 – Scorching Hot Summers

During sweltering weather, almost all plants lose water through their leaves, stem, and flowers. This process is known as transpiration. Extreme hot weather conditions might be the cause of acorns falling early.

In hot summer, the air has high humidity, the temperatures are high, and wind speed is increased. All these factors negatively affect the growth of an Oak tree. If an Oak tree loses a lot of water through transpiration, it will need to absorb water by sucking water through its roots.

However, during the hot summer, there will be low water levels in the ground. Excess water loss by the tree can cause an Oak tree to be “stressed.” A stressed tree will be characterized by decreased growth. An Oak tree that is stressed will not produce enough acorns.

Also, the few acorns produced will fall prematurely before they are mature.

Reason #2 – It Could Mean That There Was a Stretch of Heavy Rains and Frost

Prolonged rainy seasons and frost can cause an Oak tree to be inadequately pollinated. When you notice that an Oak tree suddenly begins to fall its acorns prematurely, it could be that there was a season of prolonged rain/frost during its growth period.

Heavy rains can cause pollen not to blow around efficiently. When the pollen does not get the chance to fertilize the flower, it will cause weak growth.

Reason #3 – There Was Probably Poor Pollination

If a tree is not adequately pollinated, the unpollinated fruits will eventually fall off early. Naturally, a tree will drop the fruit so the well-pollinated seeds can mature efficiently. Oak trees drop their acorns prematurely if they are not pollinated well.

Reason #4 – Poor Health and Diseases

Poor health

An oak tree that is not healthy will drop acorns early. Many factors can determine the health of a tree. If the soil composition is weak, the production of nuts will be affected.

Too much chemical composition in the soil will also hinder acorn production. Acorns will have a reduced physical structure and fall earlier than expected if Oaktree has few nutrients in its structure.


All living things, plants or animals, face the threat of infections. Oak trees are affected by many different kinds of conditions. These include Oak Leaf Blister, Bacterial Leaf Scorch, Armillaria Root Rot, Ganoderma Root Rot, Hypoxylon Canker, Powdery Mildew, Oak Anthracnose, Leaf Spot, and Oak wilt.

All these diseases significantly affect the behavior of an oak tree. For instance, Oak mildew causes the tree branches to weaken and fall acorns early. Oak leaf blister is a fungal disease that causes the leaves to turn color affecting the tree’s health.

Reason #5 – Tree Stress

Tree stress is when a tree becomes wounded due to natural or depraved human activities. Stress that sees the trunk of a tree being scalded can cause it to die. There are two kinds of stress; acute and chronic.

Chronic stress is also known as having long-term effects. These can include wet soils, poor nutrition, and soil compaction.

Acute stress is also known as a short-term or immediate effect. These can include freezing, flooding, and mammal (deer, squirrel) browsing.

Root damage to an Oak tree can cause devastating effects. Primarily, the root takes in nutrients and water from the soil to aid tree growth. When the roots of an Oak tree are damaged through construction works on the compound, the tree will start to die slowly, and the present acorns will fall prematurely.

How To Tell if an Oak Tree Is Stressed

The annual incremental growth of the Oak tree becomes reduced, and the tree suddenly becomes significantly less than its normal size. Also, most of its leaves will become smaller and fewer than normal. Finally, The Oak tree might show summer scorch symptoms.

Reason #6 – Strong Winds

If the winds are strong, tree branches and nuts might start to fall abnormally. During different global seasons, the winds might blow stronger than usual and cause havoc to farmlands. Even healthy acorns will fall prematurely with the continuous wind blowing.

To protect acorns from falling prematurely during strong winds, do not over-prune the branches. Many branches will protect the acorns from being exposed to strong winds.

Reason #7 – Insects, Birds, and Rodents

Insect infestation can not only cause acorns to drop early. An intense insect infestation can ultimately cause an Oak tree to die. When you notice the sudden falling of acorns, you need to physically check your Oak tree for evidence of insect infestation. The most common insects that cause the falling of nuts include pecan weevils, walnut caterpillars, black aphids, stink bugs, and shuck worms.

Birds, on the other hand, also prematurely contribute to the falling of acorns. Birds such as woodpeckers, wild turkeys, crows, mallards, bobwhite quail, wood ducks, and jays attack acorns even before they are mature.

Small mammals like squirrels, mice, rabbits, raccoons, voles, and opossums might attack unripe acorns and cause them to fall prematurely.

Other Reasons That Might Make Acorns Fall Early Include:

  • Lack of water
  • Lack of enough nutrients
  • Natural causes

How to Deal with Fallen Acorns?

After learning why acorns fall early, you might wonder how to deal with them, especially when scattered across your yard. Even if it could be not acorn season yet, keeping them off your yard can be done by picking them by hand. If you want to do it efficiently, you can use a lawn sweeper instead, which is affordable and easy to use.

Another convenient option is using an acorn picker which you can quickly use to get rid of acorns in your yard. But if you want to gather these acorns and compress them into a smaller pile, you might consider using a harvester instead.

Dealing with these acorns could keep animals like squirrels and chipmunks off your yard.

What Are the Uses of Fallen Acorns?

If you’re considering repurposing these fallen acorns, you can use them in arts and crafts to accessorize any occasion it suits best, such as Christmas. You can also use them to grow another oak tree. If that’s the case, choose the good ones, and allow them to germinate and become a sapling.

You can also repurpose acorns in your animal feeders for your friendly squirrels and chipmunk neighbors. If there are too many for your feeder, you can donate them to zoos and wildlife preserves.

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