Will a Lawn Mower Pick Up Acorns?

Autumn is a time of beauty and change. Leaves turn vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow, and the air carries the crisp scent of falling foliage. But for many homeowners, autumn also means dealing with a pesky problem: acorns. These hard, woody fruits fall from oak trees in abundance, littering lawns and creating a tripping hazard.

So, the question arises: can your trusty lawn mower handle this acorn onslaught? Will it pick them up and mulch them into oblivion, or will those stubborn acorns remain a thorn in your side? This article will delve into the world of lawn mowers and acorns, exploring the factors that influence their interaction and ultimately answering the burning question: can a lawn mower pick up acorns?

The Short Answer

Whether or not a lawn mower can pick up acorns depends largely on the type of mower you have and the size of the acorns. In general, mulching mowers are more likely to chop up acorns than traditional rotary mowers. However, even with a mulching mower, large acorns might still remain intact, requiring manual removal.

Factors That Affect Acorns and Lawn Mowers

Several factors influence how your lawn mower will handle acorns. Let’s break down these key considerations:

1. Mower Type: The Key to Acorn Destruction

The type of lawn mower you use plays a significant role in your acorn-busting mission. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types:

a) Rotary Mowers: The Basic but Limited Option

Rotary mowers, the most common type, use a rotating blade to cut grass. While they can handle small debris like leaves, their design isn’t ideal for breaking down large, hard objects like acorns. Larger acorns may simply be pushed aside or remain intact, rolling around your lawn.

b) Mulching Mowers: The Shredding Superstars

Mulching mowers, designed to finely chop grass clippings into mulch, are your best bet for tackling acorns. Their powerful blades and special deck design force the clippings (and hopefully, acorns) through multiple cuts before being discharged. This chopping action significantly reduces the size of acorns, even larger ones, making them easier to manage.

c) Robotic Mowers: Automation with a Catch

Robotic mowers, which autonomously mow your lawn, might seem like a magical solution for acorns. However, they are not designed for heavy-duty debris. Smaller acorns might be chopped up, but larger ones will likely be pushed aside or remain intact. The robot’s cutting height also plays a role, with lower settings potentially increasing the chances of acorn destruction.

2. Acorns: Size Matters

The size of the acorns presents a considerable hurdle for your lawn mower. Smaller acorns are more likely to be chopped up by a mulching mower, while larger acorns might remain stubbornly whole.

a) Small Acorns: Easy Target for Mulching

Small acorns, typically from smaller oak species, are more susceptible to being chopped up by a mulching mower. Their smaller size and lower density make them easier to break down.

b) Large Acorns: The Mower’s Nemesis

Large acorns, often found on mature oak trees, are a tougher nut to crack (literally!). Their size and hardness can pose a challenge even for mulching mowers. They might be partially chopped up, but it’s more likely they’ll remain intact, requiring manual removal.

3. Frequency of Mowing: Acorns Be Gone?

The frequency of mowing can also impact how your lawn mower deals with acorns.

a) Frequent Mowing: Acorns’ Worst Nightmare

Frequent mowing, ideally once a week, can help you stay ahead of the acorn onslaught. This allows your mulching mower to tackle smaller, fresher acorns, increasing the chances of chopping them up before they become a nuisance.

b) Infrequent Mowing: Acorns Reign Supreme

If you mow less frequently, acorns have more time to accumulate and harden, making them tougher to deal with. Larger, tougher acorns are more likely to remain intact and become a persistent problem.

Practical Tips for Acorn Control

While a lawn mower can be a valuable tool in your acorn-fighting arsenal, it’s not a magic bullet. Here are some practical tips to maximize your success:

  • Mulch, Mulch, Mulch: Choose a mulching mower if possible. This will significantly increase your chances of chopping up acorns and minimizing their presence on your lawn.
  • Mow Regularly: Frequent mowing keeps acorns fresh and smaller, making them easier to manage. Aim for at least once a week during peak acorn season.
  • Sweep the Debris: Use a broom or leaf blower to collect any remaining acorns that haven’t been chopped up.
  • Manual Removal: For large, stubborn acorns, manual removal is necessary. Use a rake or your hands to gather them and dispose of them.
  • Consider Acorn Removal Services: If you have a severe acorn problem, consider professional acorn removal services. These services typically use specialized equipment and techniques to efficiently gather and dispose of acorns.


Can a lawn mower pick up acorns? The answer is not a simple yes or no. The type of lawn mower you have, the size of the acorns, and the frequency of mowing all play significant roles. While a mulching mower can significantly reduce the size of acorns, it may not completely eliminate them. Manual removal and other strategies may still be necessary. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can conquer those pesky acorns and enjoy a beautifully manicured lawn, even during the heart of autumn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are 7 FAQs with answers about whether a lawnmower can pick up acorns:

1. Can a lawnmower pick up acorns?

While a lawnmower can partially pick up acorns, they won’t disappear completely. The spinning blades will chop them into smaller pieces, but these pieces will likely remain on your lawn. Some might even get scattered further afield. The effectiveness of acorn removal depends on the type of mower and the size of the acorns.

2. What type of mower is best for picking up acorns?

A mulching mower is generally considered the best for picking up acorns. These mowers have a special blade design that chops the grass and debris into fine particles, which are then recirculated into the lawn as fertilizer. This fine chopping action can also break down acorns into smaller pieces, making them easier to collect.

3. Can I use a bagging mower for acorns?

Yes, a bagging mower can also be used to collect acorns. However, larger acorns may not be completely chopped up and could end up clogging the bag. It’s also important to note that the bag on a bagging mower doesn’t have a very high capacity, so you’ll likely need to empty it frequently.

4. What should I do with the chopped acorns?

Once the acorns are chopped, you can leave them on the lawn, where they will decompose and add nutrients to the soil. Alternatively, you can rake them up and dispose of them. If you have a lot of acorns, you could consider using them for composting.

5. Are there any other methods for removing acorns from my lawn?

Besides mowing, you can use raking, sweeping, or a leaf blower to collect acorns. While these methods may be more time-consuming, they offer a more precise way to remove the acorns without chopping them up.

6. Can I prevent acorns from falling onto my lawn in the first place?

While it’s not possible to completely prevent acorns from falling, you can prune the trees to limit their production. Removing dead branches and thinning the canopy can also help reduce the number of acorns that fall onto your lawn.

7. What can I do if my lawn mower is clogged with acorns?

If your lawnmower gets clogged with acorns, turn it off immediately and unplug it if necessary. Carefully remove the acorns from the mower using a brush or your hands. Once the acorns are removed, inspect the blades and the mower deck for any damage.

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