Not a Mast Year

Every year is different, and we hopefully & thankfully welcome 2002.

2021 brought more covid challenges. It wasn’t a wonderful year for acorn production either.

2018 was a mast year. The live oak trees (Quercus virginiana) were in overdrive and produced a “bumper crop” of acorns. Why? No one really knows …

Some scientists speculate that stress may trigger acorn production. Hurricane Irma covered Florida in September 2017 and brought scorching salty winds miles inland. The leaves of the live oak trees at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area were stressed by this hurricane’s relentless winds. The first photo shows the green canopy at ORCA on a Memorial Day weekend walk on May 28, 2017, and the second shows the browned leaves that remained on the live oak at the west end of the ORCA parking lot after Hurricane Irma’s wrath.

Live oak trees are well adapted to hurricanes, often shedding limbs and branches to help to withstand hurricane winds. They responded to Hurricane Irma’s handiwork by dropping all of their salt and wind scorchedeaves fell off and almost immediately replacing them with new green leaves.

The following year brought bushels of acorns. This year acorn production by most live oaks seems scant, perhaps partly the result of the very dry summer. Who knows? Only the oak trees know for sure.

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