At the end of August 2013, I wrote a post about acorns. I gave it the title ‘The Acorns are falling’, and described the sheer volume of these hard seeds that drop from the two oaks at the front and back of our house. In 2015, I wrote another post, ‘The Acorn season’, about how we had not seen any large falls of acorns for two years. I was beginning to wonder if that would be my last ever post about acorns.
But it was not to be.
Perhaps the unusually wet and humid weather is to blame, but whatever the reason, this year looks to be a bumper year for oak trees to produce acorns. Fairly recently, we noticed how the branches were full of large nuts, and thought about just how much work they would provide for us this coming autumn. For anyone who has not read the previous posts, or knows nothing about acorns, two large trees such as ours can produce an incredible amount of the large nut-like seeds. And when I say an incredible amount, I really do mean it. They can carpet the ground everywhere, and cover the lawn until you can’t see the grass beneath.
Clearing them up is easy enough on pathways or the patio. When they get into soft ground, that’s another matter entirely. They have to be raked, then brushed, then finally the most stubborn have to be dealt with individually. Leave some behind, and you soon have burgeoning young saplings, threatening to undermine everything around them. But that job is probably going to happen in a couple of months. In the meantime, we have to endure the attack of the early acorns.
Both trees are very large, and are between 250-300 years old. The tallest branches tower above the house, and offer a long drop to the highest seeds. This enables them to accelerate fast enough to hit anything with the force of a falling marble. But because they are nut-like, they also bounce. We have three flat roofs around the property. There is the garage, the shed behind it, and the kitchen extension. All of these flat surfaces provide great targets for the falling acorns, and the rubber coverings give them trampoline-like bounce for their onward progress too. Then there are the two cars, offering a nice noisy surface which to bounce from as well. Throw in three plastic wheelie bins, plus the wooden garden table and seats, and the opportunities for our acorns are many and varied.
If you can imagine some naughty schoolboys armed with catapults, supplied with a limitless amount of hard objects, and secreted a long way above your house, you might get the idea. The sound of this assault is something similar to being in the middle of urban warfare, as they ping and clatter about, like stray bullets that are missing their target. And trees do not go to sleep when it’s dark, so the sound continues all night. Very talented acorns can fall from the tree, hit one of the cars, bounce onto a rubber-covered roof, then ricochet onto a table, or patio slab. We get treated to the sound of three direct hits, instead of just the one.
Not only do we have to endure this attack, but so does Ollie the dog. He is constantly barking at the falling acorns, believing them to be a sign of an intruder, or perhaps a burglar around the back of the house. He woke Julie up at 4 am recently, barking at the sound of them hitting the roof. She couldn’t really scold him. After all, he was only doing his job. We are going to have to endure this for some time yet. The slightest breeze sends a whole regiment cascading down, and any rain will force others to fall too.
So the next time you admire some grand old oak trees, don’t forget the poor owners.