Home / Garden Care / Why Oak Trees Don’t Produce Acorns? – 7 Reasons

Why Oak Trees Don’t Produce Acorns? – 7 Reasons

Why Oak trees dont produce acorns

Different species of trees produce fruits and nuts for human consumption. However, some will not produce fruits at regular intervals.

Only a few will bloom and burst at regular intervals. The Oaktree, for this instance, is one tree species that produce acorns.

Acorns are not only a delicacy for woodland creatures but an ingredient that can often be used to make flour, coffee produce, among other home use ingredients.

Most Oak trees start producing acorns when they reach the age of 20 years. By the age of 50-80, an Oak tree will have its peak production. During the peak production stage, an Oak tree will bloom many nuts that are healthy and nutritious.

Many reasons can make an Oak tree fail to produce acorns, even if the tree is mature. Here, we will look at the primary reasons why this often happens, and ways to make sure the Oak tree produces the acorns.

1. Genetics

Some Oak trees are genetically inferior acorns producers, while others are rich acorn producers. This means that not all Oak trees will produce the same abundance of fruit harvest during the harvesting season. Some oak trees in the same geographical setting will produce smaller-size acorns, while other oak trees produce large fruits.

Unfortunately, it is quite hard to tell the difference between genetically stable Oak trees that will produce abundant acorns from a poor Oak tree that will produce less to no fruits. This can be identified much later, after years of the endless wait.

To know which is the best type of oak tree

  • WHITE OAK (QUERCUS ALBA) – This is a native to the eastern and central United States
  • BLACK OAK (QUERCUS VELUTINA) – another native to the East and the central United States
  • WATER OAK (QUERCUS NIGRA)
  • NORTHERN RED OAK (QUERCUS RUBRA)
  • NUTTALL OAK (QUERCUS TEXANA)

2. Environmental factors

Environmental factors like drought, climate change, storms, and air pollution affect tree growth. Oak trees, just like many trees, tend to do poorly if they are exposed to unfavorable conditions.

Drought – During the drought season, an Oak tree will not produce acorns because the continuous lack of water reduces plant growth. The total production of acorns on an ordinary oak tree can be reduced by 10-20% if there is persistent drought.

Climate change – Unpredictable climate change leads to fickle crop yield. In today’s world, human activities like deforestation and global warming have led to changes in the seasons experienced. The increase in carbon dioxide and a rise in temperature has caused fruit trees to produce less yield.

Storms – Storm damage happens mostly in West Virginia and other closer states in the US. After a storm, an Oak tree that was supposed to bloom in a few months will be severely affected. The tree will produce a few acorns when compared to the other trees.

3. Age

The age of an Oak tree plays a significant role in determining if the tree will produce acorns. Younger Oak trees will start producing a few acorns. But, as years continue to progress, the Oak tree will increase its production rate significantly. Mature oak trees, on the other hand, produce many acorns.

However, Old Oak trees stop producing acorns.

Why is this so?

According to research, it has been found out that “An English oak tree may start producing its first acorns at 40 years old. All adult trees, in general, start to produce flowers or fruit and could thus start seed dispersal. So, that means that it would take until the oak tree becomes an adult for it to start producing acorns.”

4. Pathogens and Pests

Pests and pathogens affect the production of acorns immensely. Some pests will attack the flowers even before pollination occurs. Other pests will attack the flower after pollination. No matter when pests attack flowers, prepare for a low harvesting season.

5. Oak species

The kind of Oak species determines the amount of acorn the tree will produce. Different Oak trees have different maturity rates as well. Here, we will look at the two most common species of Oak trees, and their production rates

  • Red Oak – A red oak tree flowers every spring but starts to produce acorns when they are 20-30 years old. So a younger red oak tree will not produce any acorn
  • White Oak – White Oak trees, on the other hand, produce acorns after it is 20 years old.

6. Soil structure

The soil components/composition can favor or hinder plant growth. Available nutrients in the soil is also a deciding factor when it comes to the plant’s maturity. Oak trees require nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) to grow sufficiently. These are the three basic nutrients needed by many plant species. Other nutrients include calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.

These nutrients are often obtained from dead plants and decomposed animal waste.

How does the soil nutrients and structure affect the production of acorns?

  • Nitrogen helps plant foliage to grow strong. A weak Oak tree produced fewer acorns.
  • Phosphorous helps roots and flowers grow and develop.
  • Potassium (Potash) is essential for overall plant health.

How to add nutrients to the soil?

You can add nutrients to the soil by using the recommended fertilizer. Purchase standard fertilizer and follow the step by step guide to get the required nutrients in the ground.

7. Health

The health of an Oak tree can also determine acorn production. Unhealthy Oak trees will most often fail to bloom even with all the essential factors in place. A weak Oak tree can be identified if it has hundreds of dead branches and a lopsidedness look.

Also, an unhealthy oak tree will have a loss of form and vigor. In summer, Oak trees will be at a higher risk of being affected by root fungus. This, in turn, leads to minimum acorn production.

A healthy tree has its branches strong, leaves green, and a sturdy bark.