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Examiner
  • Diane Mack: Doing battle with the old oak tree

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  • Oh my, I can’t take much more of this. I do like trees but when I have hundreds of acorns, smothering my grass, making it impossible for the grass to grow or for me to walk on, I cannot take it anymore.
    If I recall, when we bought the house, the oak tree was so cute, and small. This same tree has become the death of me.
    I’ve always thought of myself as a good gardener. During spring, I bought two garden hoses, a hoe, wheel barrow, clippers, Roundup, three pairs of gardening gloves and a box of flower seeds from the dollar store. I really thought I was good to go.
    I tried handpicking the sprouting acorns. I then tried digging them up. In the same week, I sprayed Roundup. But using the Roundup simply killed the grass and not the acorn sprouts.
    As a result, I have these mini oak trees spouting all over my yard. They are growing twice as fast as the grass.
    The neighbor suggested mowing them or drowning them with water. But the acorns continued to multiple and shoot up faster than the grass.
    In desperation, I searched the Internet and located an article in the K-State Research and Extension News.
    “Oaks are a strong, long-lived tree and a valuable wood. Beyond those facts, however, lie confusion and unproven folklore.
    In fall, for example, oak owners worry about the trees’ cap-wearing acorns, which turn yards into a minefield of woody marbles: Acorns are poisonous … aren’t they? Or, are they just toxic to dogs? Or, is that cows?
    Any yard with an oak tree also has multiple squirrels … and jays … and more.
    In the wild, black bears and white-tail deer will shift their range to take advantage of a good crop. Other acorn fans include voles, foxes, mice, rabbits, raccoons, mallards, quail, turkeys, wild hogs and woodpeckers.”
    I’ve never seen a white-tail deer in my backyard and hope I don’t.
    However, I have thousands of acorns and almost as many squirrels. Someone had to list my acorn crop on Craig’s list to attract this many squirrels.
    Searching further on the Internet, I found the suggestion of using a dry vacuum to suck them up. Supposedly, acorns can be vacuumed. So we did.
    This did work. But the vacuum filled very fast. This process did not make a dent in the tens of thousands of acorns in my backyard.
    In truth, I believe the vibration of the vacuum shook more acorns from the tree.
    I am at my wits end, with these acorns. Perhaps a poem will ease my nerves.
    Page 2 of 2 - I’ve tried some poison, with no success
    With backyard bumps, the lawn’s a mess.
    The vacuum worked and sucked some up.
    Then the vacuum died, cause of the acorn cups.
    The hoe was good, but the nuts were deep.
    Next the shovel broke, it was low cost, cheap.
    Then, I lost my patience and lit a match
    But nothing burned, but a dried leaf patch.
    I must say adieu, I’ll pray for deer.
    Or agree to gridlock, and sell mini oaks, next year.
    Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at jacksoncountyfamilyweek@yahoo.com or visit www.jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.
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