The White Oak Initiative

From Patricia McDaniels, UTIA

October 20, 2021, KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Small acorns produce forest giants, and in Tennessee, the white oak is a keystone tree species for both wildlife and wood products.  But experts are concerned about the long-term sustainability of white oak considering the regeneration difficulties associated with the species.

The White Oak Initiative in Tennessee is a joint project of the Tennessee Division of Forestry (TDF), the Tennessee Forestry Association (TFA) and University of Tennessee Extension. The initiative is promoting the reforestation of white oak by placing focus on acorn collection and education to promote the production of seedlings for planting. “We hope to keep white oak in the forest landscape with continuous conservation, reforestation and stewardship projects,” said Wayne Clatterbuck, UT Extension forester and member of the project team.

The White Oak Initiative is asking Tennessee civic organizations, forestry groups, landowners and anyone interested to collect white oak acorns. The acorns will then be planted and evaluated at the East Tennessee Nursery in Delano, Tennessee, and resulting quality, white oak seedlings will be used in reforestation efforts.

The White Oak Initiative has produced a YouTube information video that describes the value of the white oak to the forest and to wildlife species as well as our economy. It also is useful to help identify white oak from other oak species.

Participation is open to anyone. For information about collecting, processing, and delivering acorns or requesting an acorn collection kit, visit the following websites:

YouTube Information Video:

Acorn Collection Kits: Tennessee Forestry Association; 615-883-3832

Acorn Depository: East Tennessee Nursery in Delano, Tennessee; 877-868-7337;

White Oak ID and Acorn Processing: University of Tennessee Extension, Knoxville; 865-974-7990;

Only white oak acorns are needed. The project will be accepting acorns from October 15 through November 15.

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