I have a couple of pin oak trees that within the last month and a half have been dropping tons and tons of acorns. They've never done this before. Why is this happening?
A: Ken Cochran, curator of Ohio State University's Secrest Arboretum near Wooster, said the acorn shower you're seeing is probably the result of a combination of two factors.
First was the heavy crop of acorns that oak trees produced this year, a cyclical phenomenon that happens every three to five years. Then, the trees probably experienced some sort of stress, causing them to drop their acorns early. Oak trees do that as a defense mechanism so they can preserve the energy they'd otherwise expend to bring the acorns to maturity, he said.
Cochran said he, too, has noticed a lot more acorns on the ground than is typical for this time of year. The acorns are green, which indicates his trees are dropping them prematurely.
Don't worry. The acorn drop probably doesn't indicate any serious problem with the trees, he said.
ON THE SHELF: BRING OUTDOORS IN WITH STYLE IDEAS
"Woodland Style" celebrates the decorative beauty of nature.
In the book, artist, designer and outdoors lover Marlene Hurley Marshall shares dozens of ideas for using natural items in and around the home. Some are purely inspirational and sometimes whimsical, such as a light switch cover made from a log and chair covers adorned with plant materials. She includes instructions for re-creating the projects.
The book also includes recipes for edibles from nature, such as mushrooms, ramps and even Japanese knotweed.
FYI: "Woodland Style" is published by Storey Publishing and sells for $24.95 in softcover
WHAT'S NEW: LIGHTER WALLBOARD ON THE MARKET
Here's a weight off your shoulders.
USG Corp. recently introduced a lighter weight gypsum wallboard that's easier for do-it-yourselfers to carry and install. Sheetrock UltraLight has been engineered to be up to 30 percent lighter than regular types of drywall.
The half-inch-thick panels are for use in non-fire-rated applications, such as residential construction, remodeling and repair projects. They come in standard lengths and can be installed on steel or wood framing.
Sheetrock UltraLight is available at Home Depot. A manufacturer's suggested retail price was not available because gypsum board prices change with market conditions, a company spokesman said, but a 4-by-8-foot sheet costs about 50 cents more than regular Sheetrock.