Title: How does prolonged exposure to natural conditions affect acorn moisture and viability?
Author: Connor, Kristina; Donahoo, Jillian; Schafer, Gretchen
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-92. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 251-254
Description: After placing acorns on a lab bench to dry, we saw changes in moisture content, germination, and seed biochemistry in as few as 3 days. As drying progressed, we found that irrevocable damage to membrane lipids and protein secondary structure occurred in just 5 days. However, we did not know if these experiments mimic what happens to acorns in the field. We cleared an area beneath two open-grown white oak (Quercus alba L.) trees and collected acorns after they were shed. Acorns found each morning under the trees were marked with spots of paint, different colors for each day. Five hundred acorns were marked each day, and the remaining acorns were raked from the site. The experiment continued until acorns shed from the trees dropped below 500. We found that, unlike the laboratory experiment, acorn germination showed no distinct pattern of decreasing viability. Additionally, moisture content of the acorns from both trees remained relatively high, never dropping below 35 percent. The high moisture content was no doubt in some part due to the 8 days of precipitation that occurred during each tree’s collection period. We also confirmed that insect damage was more prevalent on acorns first shed from the trees.
View and Print this Publication (427 KB)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
- You may vist the new Publication Ordering page to request a hard copy of this publication. (Please specify exactly
which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility
Connor, Kristina; Donahoo, Jillian; Schafer, Gretchen 2006. How does prolonged exposure to natural conditions affect acorn moisture and viability?. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-92. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 251-254.