Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Live Oak Acorns, Wisteria Pods, Blackberry Pruning, & Louisiana 811


Acorns from a live oak.

Live Oak Acorns

Mara, a regular reader, sent another question regarding oak trees and acorns, “How often do live oaks dump acorns? I think 2 years ago, we had acres & acres of acorns. They fell on my roof from neighbor's oak in October, but not that many on the ground. My own live oaks don't seem to be ‘acorning’ this year. Once upon a time I thought it was every other year.”

AHA consulted the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for a possible answer to Mara’s question, “"Oak trees can start producing acorns when they are 20 years old, but sometimes can go all the way to 50 years for the first production. By the time the tree is 70 to 80 years old it will produce thousands of acorns.

The oak trees produce acorns once a year during the fall. Acorn production varies year to year and normally alternates. Not even the healthiest and largest oak can accumulate enough food and energy to produce strong crops two years in succession. Real strong acorn productions might happen every four to ten years. In addition, a late spring frost can blight the flowers which prevents acorn development. Droughts and insect ravages can decimate crops.

Acorn production will increase year after year; following a similar pattern as the size of the tree's canopy."


Seed pods from an Asian wisteria.

Wisteria Pods

Gary sent a video asking to identify a seed pod resembling the image in this article. This seed pod is from a wisteria vine, probably from Asia. According to the website of the University of Maryland Extension, “Asian wisteria (Wisteria sinensis, Wisteria floribunda, and floribunda x sinensis hybrids) are perennial woody vines that have been planted extensively for their ornamental flowers. When they escape gardens and establish in natural areas, exotic wisterias displace native vegetation. They kill mature trees by shading and strangling them with thick, heavy vines.”

There is a native American wisteria which Dan Gill, retired AgCenter horticulturist describes, “It's called Wisteria frutescens, and it blooms…[in late May]. While the Chinese wisteria’s blooming is over in about two weeks – one big flash – the native wisteria has been in bloom at least a week or two and is going to continue to bloom for more than a month.”


Pruning erect-growing blackberries.
Image: University of Missouri Extension.

Blackberry Pruning

A gardener called the AgCenter asking about pruning blackberries. The answers to her question are in an AgCenter publication titled, Growing Blackberries for Pleasure and Profit which has this narrative, “Blackberries usually require no pruning the year they are planted. Blackberry plants send up new shoots (primocanes) from crowns or buds formed on the roots in the spring. These canes are biennial and live for two years. They grow through one season, then produce a crop of fruit the second year as floricanes and gradually die after fruiting. Floricanes die soon after harvest and can be removed at any time up to spring. Early removal and burning is preferred since the old canes can be a reservoir of disease and insect pests.

After removing floricanes, top the new primocanes by removing about 6 inches of growth from the tip in the summer when they reach a height of 3 to 4 feet. Heading the new canes back early in the growing season encourages lateral branch development on which fruit will be produced the next year. Three or four canes of the erect varieties and four to eight canes of the trailing varieties should be selected for fruiting wood the following year. Remove dead and weak shoots in the winter. Cut lateral branches back to about 12 inches in length before growth starts in the spring.

Growing Blackberries for Pleasure and Profit is free and downloadable from website and is a handy reference for blackberries. This document discusses most suitable blackberry varieties for Louisiana and includes advice on siting, planting, propagating, fertilizing, pruning, weed, disease and insect controls.


White paint mark required by LA 811 before any excavation.
Photo: Keith Hawkins, LSU AgCenter.

Louisiana 811

Finally, the AgCenter is planning some professional landscaping at the office the old Rosepine Research Station. Part of the process entailed notifying Louisiana 811 to have the planting site marked for utilities.

According to the dispatcher with LA 811, there is a new law for 2022 mandating that a site requiring the utility marks must first be marked with white paint by the homeowner or contractor before the utility technicians will locate utilities. The take home message for gardeners who are starting new beds is to contact Louisiana 811, , to mark new planting site in white utility paint, to protect underground utility lines and to avoid legal consequences if lines are damaged.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337.284.5188 or

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

2/11/2022 4:46:57 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture