Cooler temperatures and outdoor and community activities make autumn the favored season for many Ozarkers.
But there is also one more reason to celebrate fall: it is the time to gather nuts.
“Landowners in the Ozarks are blessed with a variety of nut-growing trees. Each type has its own characteristics, needs and flavor,” said Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
Walnuts are starting to fall now. It is important to remove the hulls as soon as possible after harvest. Store the nuts and crack out the nutmeats.
Pecans start dropping in mid- to late-October, according to Byers. Native pecans are smaller than papershells, but have a delicious flavor.
Hazelnuts are ready to gather in September. This shrub is also beautiful in home landscapes.
Hickory nuts are also beginning to fall. Two types of hickory trees in the Ozarks produce the best nuts: shagbark and shellbark.
Hickory nuts are a bit hard to crack out but they do have a delicious flavor, according to Byers.
Chestnuts can also be found in the Ozarks. The nuts are inside a spiny bur. Freeze the nuts as soon as they are gathered to eliminate weevils.
For more information on landscape plants or nut trees, visit www.extension.missouri.edu/greene.