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Using Acorns to Assist Wildlife

Oak trees are in abundance across much of the United States. Species of oaks have adorned the American terrain for hundreds of years. Many homeowners choose to add this expansive species to their personal landscape for its beauty, grandeur and function.

Acorns are the nuts borne of oaks. And although they frequently go unnoticed by us, they are quite valuable to wildlife, especially in preparation for winter’s relative cold and barrenness. Varying species of oaks produce acorns with varying amounts of bitter tannins, or polyphenols. In spite of the tannins, acorns are consistently a favorite among such wildlife as birds, squirrels, deer and bears.

If your landscape has oaks that produce acorns, then there are several creative ways you can assist wildlife as they begin their preparations for winter by gathering and storing the sustenance that will sustain them during the long winter months. Consider building collection stations across your landscape from which wildlife can feed on or gather acorns.

This endeavor can be thought of much like a bird feeder for birds, only the completed works are feeders for other wildlife, too.

Online searches or research of woodworking books at a local library are great resources for the design and construction of animal feeders. These are generally quite descriptive as well, providing the approximate dimensions necessary for the average size of the animal that feeds from it. This is a positive as far as planning for the amount of materials that will be necessary and the approximate amount of money you will likely incur to complete the projects. For watchful landscape owners who’ve monitored repeated annual visits to his or her property by wildlife over the years, you may even find that you have enough information to help determine the amount of feeders necessary for each type of wildlife that visits your property.

Certainly, if building such projects is not of interest to you, you can always find a local woodworker to build them for you. Or you may also be able to find pre-built feeders at wildlife or feed and seed stores.

Hang or place them in strategic places across your landscape. Squirrel and bird feeders can be hung from privacy fences or ground posts. Wooden replicas of hanging or tripod deer feeders can be made and filled with an abundance of acorns. This would be especially beneficial to deer that perhaps frequent your property due to a heavy pine tree population on or near your property.

Acorns will generally begin to fall at the onset of autumn. Begin collecting them as soon as the weather begins to turn cooler and the days shorter, as this is the time when wildlife will begin to seek them as well.

If you have an oak tree with a branch that appears unhealthy, contact an Austin tree trimming specialist to assist you with proper pruning techniques. This will not only sustain the tree itself and your property in the long-run, but for environmentally-conscious property owners, doing so will also protect the wildlife that happen across your landscape to forage. Depending upon the level of destruction of a branch requiring trimming, salvaging any acorns still attached may or may not be possible.

Use a beautiful, comfortable autumn weekend to gather acorns and put them in wildlife feeders for their easy access. Encourage neighbors to do the same. And watch for opportunities to give away excess amounts of acorns, perhaps during a masting period, for a good cause, such as increasing the population of or altogether re-populating a wildlife habitat.

Consult an Austin tree care professional, and get to know your oaks better.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.