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

If your oak trees don’t produce acorns and you want to know why, then this blog post is for you.

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 and coffee produce, among other home-use ingredients.

How Often Do Oak Trees Produce Acorns?

Acorn production depends on the type of oak tree. White oaks could produce a crop of acorns in a single growing season, about 3 months. Meanwhile, red oaks could produce a crop of acorns in two growing seasons, about 15 months.

Most Oak trees start producing acorns when they reach the age of 20 years. By 50-80, an Oak tree will have its peak production. During the peak production stage, an Oak tree will bloom many healthy and nutritious nuts. Many reasons can make an Oak tree fail to produce acorns, even if the tree is mature.

Here, we will look at why this often happens and ways to ensure the Oak tree produces the acorns.

1. Genetics

Some Oak trees are genetically inferior acorn producers, while others are rich. 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 others have large fruits.

Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to tell the difference between genetically stable oak trees that will produce abundant acorns from a poor Oak tree that will have less to no fruits.

This can be identified much later, after mast years of endless wait.

Here’s How To Know 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

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.

Weather Patterns

Aside from the aforementioned, the general weather pattern affects acorn production. What’s amazing is that trees have internal timers which tell them that it’s now okay to start opening their bud because the frost has already passed.

However, a late frost keeps the flowering process from its course, resulting in a lower yield of acorns. This is regardless of season, whether summer or autumn. Heavy rains could also contribute to acorn production.


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


Microclimates or localized climate conditions also affect acorn production in oak trees. This means that due to topographical and soil depth differences, the yield of your acorn may not be as abundant as those who reside miles away from you.

Climate change

Unpredictable climate change leads to erratic 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 temperature rise has caused fruit trees to produce less yield.


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 the years 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, produce flowers or fruit and could thus start seed dispersal. So, it would take until the oak tree becomes an adult 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 acorns.

White Oak

On the other hand, white oak trees produce acorns after they are 20 years old.

6. Soil Structure

The soil components/composition can favor or hinder plant growth. Available nutrients in the soil are also a deciding factor regarding 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 Do the Soil Nutrients and Structure Affect the Process of Produce Acorns?

  • Nitrogen helps plant foliage to grow strong, and a weak Oak tree produces 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 with hundreds of dead branches and a lopsided look. Also, an unhealthy oak tree will lose 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 strong branches, green leaves, and a sturdy bark.


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