BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – As the official start to fall draws closer, outdoors enthusiasts will likely see the ground littered with acorns in some areas. However, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF), most of those acorns won’t grow into trees to dot the Commonwealth.

There is something that can be done with those acorns, though. The DOF is asking Virginians to gather up acorns and nuts this fall to be taken to its Augusta Nursery for planting.

“Through statewide collection efforts, our nurseries plant more trees, of more species, from varied genetics,” the DOF stated in a release. “The resulting seedlings are then sold to Virginia landowners, typically to reforest open lands.”

State Forester Rob Farrell said thanks to last year’s efforts by acorn-collecting Virginians, the department received eight tons of acorns and nuts. According to Farrell, those could potentially yield 1.5 million seedlings.

“Help us continue these positive trends by collecting acorns for the Virginia Department of Forestry so we can collectively grow the forests we all enjoy,” Farrell said. “Donating your acorns is a huge help to us, is a great outdoor activity and provides the perfect outdoor classroom to learn more about Virginia trees.”

Acorns can be dropped off at any DOF office by Oct. 16. To find a local office, click here.

This fall, the department is asking specifically for the following species:

  • *Black Oak
  • *Chestnut Oak
  • *White Oak
  • *Black Walnut
  • Chinese Chestnut
  • Northern Red Oak
  • Pin Oak
  • Shumard Oak
  • Southern Red Oak
  • Swamp Chestnut Oak
  • Swamp White Oak
  • Water Oak
  • Willow Oak

The Black Oak, Chestnut Oak, White Oak and Black Walnut are of particular interest, the release states.

For those who plan to collect acorns, the DOF advises everyone to stay away from roadways, collect only whole, uncracked acorns (caps aren’t necessary), keep them in a paper bag instead of plastic and use different bags for different species.

For more information on acorn and nut collection in Virginia, click here.