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Acorn Harvesting Technique

Many at once!
  [vote for,

I have been pondering acorn farms, with the goal of making biodiesel. Oaks would seem to have several advantages for this. 1. They make loads of acorns. 2. Some oaks are fire resistant. I envision the oak farm as widely spaced oaks separated by grass. The grass would be used as pasture and burned every 2-3 years to keep down weed trees. 3. Oaks grow in places not that suitable for other crops.

Thinking about harvesting: once the acorns start to fall, once could spread a big tarp under the tree, then set off a stick of dynamite above the tree. Many acorns will fall at once and can be gathered in the tarp. Move to next tree, repeat.

bungston, Feb 22 2012

Coppicing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppicing
Very cool and something I did not know about. Thanks MechE. [bungston, Feb 22 2012]

Acorn harvesting http://farm8.static...1559_bf3ae86261.jpg
[phundug, Feb 23 2012]

Acetone production http://en.wikipedia...thanol_fermentation
WW1 development [8th of 7, Feb 24 2012]

Equipment for harvesting used nuts http://colomboequipment.com/
Check out the "Shakers" section. [mouseposture, Feb 27 2012]


       Not trained squirrels? I'm disappointed.
phundug, Feb 22 2012

       Hmm. The web says that an adolescent oak tree produces about 100,000 acorns per year. I'm guessing they weigh two grams each, giving you 200kg of acorns. I have no idea how much biodiesel you'd get from that, but it can't be more than 25% of the acorn weight, or 50kg. If that's worth a dollar a litre, you're getting about 50 dollars per year per tree.   

       Why not?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 22 2012

       Acorns make good biodiesel*, do they?   

       * Inasmuch as anything about biodiesel can be described as 'good'.
Alterother, Feb 22 2012

       [8th] will be here shortly and will endorse this idea purely for the use of dynamite, although he will have suggestions for air/fuel explosives.
normzone, Feb 22 2012

       Acorns are viable for food as well (although you would need to plant the right varieties and cultivars). I think you could still do acorn flour after the oil was extracted.   

       The other advantage is, about every fifty years you're selling a load of fairly valuable lumber.
MechE, Feb 22 2012

       I had a hard time finding per tree acorn production. Max if you did would you link it up?   

       I wonder if, when one harvests a big tree like an oak, if you leave the trunk and let it resprout or if the whole thing goes. Or maybe no-one farms long lived trees like oaks.
bungston, Feb 22 2012

       //a hard time finding per tree acorn production//   

       I just googled "how many acorns on an oak tree". I can't vouch for the veracity of the answer, but it was in a sans-serif font which lends it some credence.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 22 2012

       Oak trees are farmed (for lumber) as are many others. Black walnut are farmed for nuts and lumber. If you cut the trunk, they will not resprout properly.   

       Some trees can be coppiced, which produces lots of wood, and can be used for smaller wooden items, but not the long straight heartwood trunks for lumber.
MechE, Feb 22 2012

       The oak tree in my back yard produces acorns like they're going out of style. As for setting off a stick of dynamite --- when I tried it my garage collapsed into a smouldering heap.   

Grogster, Feb 23 2012

       That may have something to do with acorns actually going out of style.
normzone, Feb 23 2012

       // when I tried it my garage collapsed into a smouldering heap. //   

       The important part is, did it knock the acorns off of the tree? A demolished garage is a noble sacrifice placed upon the altar of science, but we need results, man!
Alterother, Feb 23 2012

       The dynamite-and-tarpaulin method is excellent, but I have my doubts about the 'dynamite-and' part of it. It is in the nature of acorns to fall off the tree anyway, so the '-tarpaulin' part alone might suffice.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 23 2012

       I considered the tarpaulin and time approach, but I am impatient, and I have only one tarpaulin. One could collect acorns on one's own schedule with the extra dynamitic induction.
bungston, Feb 23 2012

       I anticipate an explosion of a deaf squirrel population, and open warfare for the right to harvest.
Ling, Feb 24 2012

       In the end, the feline companions of the corporate executives who come out on top when the Acorn Wars are over will feast splendidly on the deaf and shellshocked squirrels, or, in other words, all the fat cats will have fat cats.
Alterother, Feb 24 2012

       //...The important part is, did it knock the acorns off of the tree?...//   

       The west wall knocked them into my neighbors yard. (...Although I must say it looked like a rather explosive oak-orgasm from my lofty perch across the street...)   

       //...so the '-tarpaulin' part alone might suffice...//   

Grogster, Feb 24 2012

       // [8th] will be here shortly and will endorse this idea purely for the use of dynamite, //   

       That's petty prejudiced stereotyping.   

       It's true, but it's still petty prejudiced stereotyping.   

       // although he will have suggestions for air/fuel explosives. //   

       Since you mention them ...   

       // One giant mechanised squirrel would work. //   

       That's a deeply worrying suggestion. Squirrelzilla ?   

       // As for setting off a stick of dynamite --- when I tried it my garage collapsed into a smouldering heap. //   

       You too ? We feel your pain, Brother.   

       // I have my doubts about the 'dynamite-and' part of it. //   

       Oddly, that is the part that we doubt the least, and will be more than happy to send you for some "re-education" and "psychological re-alignment".   

       Take cotton wool, as earplugs are NOT provided.   

       In WW1, conkers (horse chestnut seeds) were collected in the UK to be fermented as part of the production process for Acetone, of which there was a serious shortage. Acetone was required for the extrusion of Cordite-type propellants. However, and alternative process based on Maize was developed, with the result that once again the British Empire gave Johnny Foreigner a Right Good Kicking (even if, in this case, Johnny Foreigner happened to be the Germans, sole owner and operator of The British Royal Family plc).
8th of 7, Feb 24 2012

       I was afraid you were going to let me down - it's been a while.
normzone, Feb 24 2012

       //the Germans// You're making the same mistake Bismark did, confusing Germany with Prussia.
mouseposture, Feb 24 2012

       How does the energy content of a tree full of acorns compare to the energy content of a stick of dynamite?
scad mientist, Feb 24 2012

       Dynamite and acorns have roughly the same energy density.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 24 2012



       Heavens, he's right ...
8th of 7, Feb 24 2012


       send high power vortex ring
VJW, Feb 24 2012

       [Grogster]: Just for background, did you set off the dynamite inside your garage, or outside?   

       Sillier mistakes have been made in the name of science.   

       EDIT: [MB]: Problem with waiting is that there may be an issue with squirrels or other vagrants. By blowing them all off at once you reduce the odds of losing some to critters; as a bonus, you scare the critters away if you do it often enough.   

       And you get to launch explosives into the air.
shapu, Feb 27 2012

       "Force mutiplication" ...   

       1. Collect all the acorns from under the tree.   

       2. Lay down a very large tarpaulin around the base of the trunk.   

       3.Fling the collected acorns into the tree with a trebuchet.   

       Repeat steps (1) and (3) until all the acorns have been dislodged.   

       Move to next tree.
8th of 7, Feb 27 2012

       /Lay down a very large tarpaulain/   

       Can it be called a tarpaulain _before_ you lay it?
bungston, Feb 27 2012

       //       Sillier mistakes have been made in the name of science.   //   

Alterother, Feb 27 2012

       I'd recommend trying a fuel/air bomb. It may not work, but it will be fun.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 27 2012

       [normzone] walks around the orchard with a hand pump sprayer, misting the area with gasoline, inserts earplugs, reaches for matches...
normzone, Feb 27 2012

       ... and there was Much Rejoicing.   

       Try nitromethane rather than gasoline, by the way.
8th of 7, Feb 27 2012

       Every good scientist knows the importance of comparison. Try both!
shapu, Feb 27 2012

       You mean together at the same time? Good idea! You first.
mouseposture, Feb 27 2012

       Oh, not me thanks; I'm a theoretician.
shapu, Feb 28 2012

       We think you'll discover that your blood is the same colour as everyone elses, though.
8th of 7, Feb 28 2012

       From Wikipedia:   

       "Although inexpensively available, nitromethane can be prepared in other methods that are of instructional value"
normzone, Feb 28 2012

       Explosions are frequently very instructional. 'How Not To Be Seen', for instance.
Alterother, Feb 29 2012


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