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Need A Home for Your Acorns?

Des Moines - Iowa's native oak trees drop millions of acorns each fall sending many central Iowa homeowners out - with rake in hand - to clear their yard. Instead of disposing or composting these acorns, consider donating them to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The DNR's State Forest Nursery, in Ames, will need up to 18 semi-truck loads of acorns to grow the 800,000 2-year old oak tree seedlings it hopes to have for planting in the spring of 2005, said John Walkowiak, chief of the DNR's forestry bureau.

"The State Forest Nursery grows more than 5 million tree and shrub seedlings each year for landowners to purchase at the cost of production for conservation plantings across our state. Oaks are some of the most popular trees ordered," he said.

The DNR has set up two acorn collection sites for homeowners in central Iowa to gather and donate their acorns. Two dog kennels have been loaned to the DNR by Lowe's Home Improvement of West Des Moines for acorn collection and storage.

The kennels are clearly marked DNR Acorn Collection Site. The first collection site is located downtown at the State Capitol Complex west parking lot near the State Historical Museum at the intersection of E. Locust Street and Pennsylvania Ave. The second collection site is located at the boat ramp parking lot of Raccoon River Regional Park, 2500 Grand Ave., in West Des Moines.

Walkowiak said people should place the acorns in paper sacks or boxes to keep them dry and should not to use plastic bags because plastic allows the acorns to heat up and become damaged.

"If at all possible, if people could separate out the different types of acorns and keep twigs and leaves out of the bags. It helps us at planting time this fall," he said. Walnuts are not needed, Walkowiak said, and people are asked not to drop them off at the acorn collection sites to avoid damaging the acorns.

Homeowners wishing to donate acorns can dropped them off anytime at these acorn collection sites between Sept. 8 and Oct. 1. For more information about acorns or the State Forest Nursery conservation seedlings, go to




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