Not even remotely related to anything polymeric, we also have an extreme shortage of acorns this year at our house in Minnesota and a corresponding increase of squirrels below the bird feeder. No one is complaining, as in more normal years the deluge was hazardous to everyone. As for causes, I would chalk it up to the plentiful rain here during the pollination period (despite the contrary claim of the expert in the article.)
The oak pollen was excessively heavy on the ground this year. We do pay attention to the oak pollen as it is a yearly milestone in the late spring. After the snow has melted, we start bringing out the patio furniture, sweep the deck, blow the grit off the driveway... Only after oak pollination do we bring out the fabrics - umbrellas and chair cushions. We didn't know any better when we first moved into the area, and found out the our ignorance turned everything a bright yellow. As it is, we still have to reclean the porch screens and the tile floor in it, but it is a relief to be down with the pollination as then we can really enjoy the outdoors. And we really did notice that the pollen on screens and floor was unusually heavy. Since there was more pollen on the ground, it doesn't surprise me that there was less in the trees to pollinate.
This year we also have a black coating on everything under the oak trees. It's weird stuff. Water won't touch it, as is the case with a wide range of other solvents: turpentine, limonene, IPA. 409 works (quats). I'm wondering if there is any connection. This coating didn't appear until mid July or so. It wasn't a one-time event eiher as I had to clean some of the deck tables multiple times. Does anyone have any ideas?