Who Knew? Deer Eat Acorns!

GREAT NEWS: deer eat acorns! It’s news to me, anyway, and it’s great because I have plenty.

It’s been raining acorns for two weeks now. They fall — a distance of perhaps 100 feet — from the towering white oaks that surround my house and hit the skylights with a noise that made me jump until I got used to it. Then they rolllllllllllll down the roof and drop on to the deck, where they bounce, bounce, bounce.

I don’t remember this at all from last year. It must have been a bad year for acorns. Surely I would remember… Each morning, the deck is covered with so many acorns, it’s like walking on ball bearings. They’ll need to be raked away from the paths at some point, and I was wondering what I would do with them all, when I stumbled on the Missouri Department of Conservation website and read that 54% of a white-tailed deer’s diet is acorns! Oh frabjous day!

I’m hoping, you see, that the deer will be so satiated from this bounty of acorns that they’ll leave my shrubs alone this winter. I just bought two “skip laurels” today (prunus laurocerasus ‘schipkaensis’ ), which the nursery man said the deer might sample but won’t devour. Since he was frank about that, and said he’d been in the business 25 years, and was nice, I also believed him when he said the tag that says they need full sun is wrong.

They just arrived on a truck from Oregon and are blooming, which they’re not supposed to do in September, sending up spikes of white flowers at the top. They’re evergreen, and they’re going in my front area as part of a screening hedge.

Meanwhile, the deer are feasting. I noticed one today with his face to the ground in an area of wood chips, where nothing grows, and wondered what he was finding there. Duh. They’ll be fat and contented this winter, and maybe leave my rhodies alone.

4 thoughts on “Who Knew? Deer Eat Acorns!

  1. We’ve got acorn showers as well here in the Hudson River Valley. I read somewhere the hot, dry summer is the instigator. The heat has also concentrated the sugars in the apple crop, making this one of the sweetest on record according the local growers…

  2. Acorns make so much noise when falling from a tree. Just yesterday I was with my children at a playground when a loud thump hit the ground right next to me…it was an acorn. I was happy it did not hit my noggin first! Yes, it’s nice to give the deer something different to feast on for a while.

  3. Skip laurels are great & will do fine in deep shade. Their deer resistance is questionable. Also they tend to suffer from winter burn. Maybe spray them with Wilt-Pruf in December to prevent this.

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