How to Harvest Acorns

Updated February 21, 2017

Oak trees produce abundant seeds, called acorns, in late summer and early fall. You can harvest acorns to plant and grow oak trees. Preserve native species in your area by collecting and planting acorns from local trees. When you collect acorns, wait until they are fully ripe and have turned dark brown. Once collected, proper storage keeps the seeds viable for planting for six months to three years, depending on the variety.

Rake up and discard the acorns that fall first in the season. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the first 5 to 10 per cent of acorns that fall show signs of insect damage.

Harvest the acorns as they fall naturally. Collect the seeds by hand, or use a rake or leaf blower to gather them in a pile. Harvest acorns every two to three days.

Place the acorns in a sack or bucket. Remove leaves, sticks, and other plant debris as you go.

Place the acorns in a bucket and cover them with water. Remove the cups from the acorns. Remove any acorns and plant debris that float in the water.

Dry the acorns. Place them into a bucket, paper bag, or ventilated plastic bag. Keep the acorns in the refrigerator or in another cool, damp place. Plant the acorns in the fall or spring.


Ripe acorns twist easily out of their cups. Avoid green acorns and acorns that fail to come out of their cups with gentle pressure.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Bucket
  • Plastic or paper bag
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About the Author

Eulalia Palomo has been a professional writer since 2009. Prior to taking up writing full time she has worked as a landscape artist and organic gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University. She travels widely and has spent over six years living abroad.