California Native Plant Society

Help Restore Oaks to Wine Country

Blue oak
Photo credit: Ger Erickson

A Simple, Fun Way to Help with Fire Recovery

Many of us are looking for ways to help in the wake of the devastating Northern California Fires. Here's one thing you can do this week:

Help Us Gather Acorns!

This is an incredible mast year, and oaks are producing a historic crop of acorns. They can be the basis of robust recovery, but the window to act is closing fast. The acorns have fallen and we have just days to gather them before they dry and die.


Yes, I'd Like to Help!

To get started, please send us the following information. We'll respond immediately with instructions and where to send the acorns based on your location. Thank you!

(All fields are required)

*If you have any trouble with this form, or do not receive a reply by email within a few minutes, please email the information requested in the form above (name, address, city, zip, email) to . You should receive more information immediately, and we will respond to questions as soon as we can.


What Happens Next?

Your acorns will be processed by CNPS volunteers in Sacramento and shipped to volunteers in Sonoma led by Betty Young who will finish processing, including treating them to kill Phytophthora spores or other diseases. Some acorns will be shared with parks and partner organizations that need to direct plant this season. Most of the acorns will be planted in the nurseries run by CNPS volunteers.

While the seedlings grow, CNPS will work with parks, non-profits, and other partners to determine specific planting sites, schedule planting days, and engage the community. Next winter, when the rains come, we will come together to plant our oak seedlings in natural settings and carefully chosen gardens and landscaping sites.



Thank you for the great questions we're receiving. Here are a few important updates and answers. We'll continue to add to this information as needed.

Can we still collect? Even after the rains?
Yes, acorns are still needed.

Will you accept acorns from other areas?
We have the resources to focus on helping burned areas Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma Counties. That said, oaks everywhere need our help. If you collected acorns from other parts of California feel free to send them in and CNPS will do what we can to find them good homes; it is always possible a donor could provide the funding to expand this work to benefit other parts of California that need help. Please do not send acorns from outside California.

What oak species do you want?
Acorns of all oak species in the area are needed. (Please make sure you use different bags for the different species and include a branch for identification.)

Where should I go to gather acorns?
Please gather within the counties indicated above. Do not trespass. Always get landowner permission before gathering.

Can I plant acorns myself right now?
Yes. Planting local acorns on your own land is one of the best things you can do. Acorn to Oak (pdf) gives guidance, but it can be relatively straightforward: plant, protect from mowers and weeds, enjoy.

Important Note
Standard practice is to take no more than 5% in a single area.We want to be sure to leave enough for the wildlife and self-seeding.


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Valley oaks
Photo credit: Ger Erickson

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