SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — If you feel like you’ve been seeing more acorns than normal this year, you’re not alone!
Like many trees and plants, oak trees have irregular cycles of boom and bust. You might be hearing more taps on your roof, or a few more crunches under your car than normal, and that’s because we are in the middle of what is called a “mast year” for oak trees.
Boom times are called “mast years” and occur every two to five years, with bust years in between yield a smaller crop. This is an evolutionary benefit for oak trees. During a mast year, predators, like chipmunks, squirrels, birds, or deer can’t possible eat all of the acorns that the oak tree produces. This allows for some to be left behind, allowing the nuts to grow into future oak trees.
“Also the notion that trees producing fruit is apart of a healthy cycle and so we had a really wet year this year, so trees are doing quite well out there because they received a lot of moisture this year. So that can encourage prolific growth, good fruiting, all of those kinds of things so it’s a little tough to narrow it to one little statement,” said Rick Harper, an associate professor at UMass.
To recap, the amount of acorns can be attributed to many different things, not just one individual factor. Rick also mentioned there is little knowledge on if a higher amount of acorns will actually yield a colder than normal winter or not.
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