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Plant Focus

Quercus xjackiana acorns
The hybrid of Q. alba and Q. bicolor

Request for Acorns for Oak Wilt Study

An assortment of bur oak acorms from across the natural range - Photo © Guy Sternberg

We have received a request from The Morton Arboretum for acorns of northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis), red oak (Q. rubra), and bur oak (Q. macrocarpa) to support a study on oak wilt. Details below. If you can help please contact IOS member Jeanine Cavender-Bares at the email address given in the signature.


RE: Request for help collecting bur oak and northern pin oak acorns


We are conducting a pilot project at the University of Minnesota to develop better methods to detecting oak wilt remotely as well as testing a new management approach to slowing the spread of oak wilt. Part of the project involves growing oak seedings and infecting them with pathogens after which we measure attributes of the leaves. To conduct the study, we need acorns from our three most common oaks: northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis), red oak (Q. rubra) and bur oak (Q. macrocarpa):

We are hoping for 500 good seeds from each of these species. Our goal is to get these seeds from 10 different trees per species. We would like to keep track of the mother tree and the location of that tree.

Quercus ellipsoidalis acorns

Therefore, it helps us if you can keep seeds from individual trees in separate bags (paper or thin plastic). The seeds are more likely to be pest-free if they are picked directly from the tree. But if they look fresh, they can be collected from the ground. Many acorns have weevil larvae in them (even when collected from the tree). This is normal and does not prevent germination. A small branch can be included in the collection bag for verification of the species. Provide the location of the tree in a manner that is easy for you. If it is easy to provide a GPS coordinate, that is helpful to us. Please keep the seeds cold (in refrigerator) if you need to hold them before sending them. We can send fed-ex shipping labels to pay to send them to us.

Thank you for helping us advance the science of protecting oak trees!

Jeannine Cavender-Bares

Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
University of Minnesota
1475 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108