And the Acorns Come Tumbling Down

Thanks to a blog I follow—New Hampshire Garden Solutions—I learned that this is probably a mast year for acorns. This is from a recent post: “There must be many millions of acorns falling this year; I would guess enough to call it a mast year. In a mast year the trees grow a bumper crop and produce much more fruit than in a non-mast year.”

The things I learn from reading blogs! I knew that some years there were a lot of acorns. Other years, not so much. But I didn’t know there was a name for a season that produced a bumper crop of acorns. But now I do. Many thanks, New Hampshire Garden Solutions.

As I have written previously, we live in the woods, and there are several oak trees near one end of our house. This fall there has been a steady rain of acorns, and when the acorns hit the roof, it sounds as though we are being pelted with little rocks. Sometimes the rain is steady enough that I worry I will be knocked senseless when I am near the oak trees. So far, so good. I’ve escaped concussion and have come inside with nary a bump.

Joking aside, I have come to regard the acorns as little wonders.

Beautiful as well as useful, they produce the majestic oak, thus providing a much-needed lesson about how mighty things can grow from a small seed. The acorns feed a variety of creatures who live in the woods around our house—chipmunks, squirrels, deer, and turkeys, to name a few. From the National Wildlife Federation Blog, I discovered that “more than 100 U.S. vertebrate species eat acorns. In autumn and winter, the acorn is the cheeseburger of the forest ecosystem—fairly easy to find and nicely packaged. They are one of the most valuable food resources available for wildlife.”

No wonder the oaks produce an abundance of acorns whenever they have a chance. If some acorns are to survive to grow into a tree, there must be many.

Therefore, as we head into the season of Thanksgiving, I give thanks to the oaks that provide shade, absorb carbon, and feed assorted denizens of the forest. Oaks are a vital part of Maine’s ecosystem, and how poor we would be without them. Long may oaks—and acorns—flourish.

 

 

 

 

41 thoughts on “And the Acorns Come Tumbling Down”

  1. Amen! We’ve got a rain of them this year, too. Now, those little piny looking plants in your acorn picture…Are they some sort of sedum? I sure hope Eliza is reading your blog and answers!

  2. Oh dear. My dogs munched loads of acorns last year and then I read they can be toxic to dogs so I have to really keep an eye on them on our walks. Mind you, my dogs will eat anything and they have so far survived to tell the tale – or, at least, for me to tell it.

  3. I wonder if that terms applies to other nut trees. We have four pecan trees (plus a few that hang over into our yard), and our first year here (2017) we had a great crop; last year not a single pecan. It’s looking like a good year again, so I guess it must take a whole lot of energy to produce a pecan crop and they take a break sometimes.

  4. Now I haven’t noticed an excess of acorns yet and we have a number of oak trees. Yet I live only a hundred miles or so from Derrick! We are often late!

  5. Yes, definitely a mast year. I walked upslope through the woods to my neighbor’s this morning and I felt like I was walking on marbles! Kind of scary on a slope, esp. when coming back down. 😉
    Also of note is that an oak supports over 350 Invertebrate species, which of course, in turn feed a multitude of birds and mammals. Planting natives is a good thing to do!

  6. We have a big oak right outside our back door and I haven’t noticed lots of acorns yet–I need to go out and have a good look! I like your photo a lot . . .

  7. I believe it was last year, or the year before, that we had a mast year — and some nice, fat deer to go along with it. I used to spend a good bit of time out in the Texas hill country, in a cabin with a tin roof. It was, as they say, a memorable experience when the acorns began to fall.

  8. I echo Eliza on the treacherous footing of mast years. Our gorgeous old oak is on a hillside slope and in heavy acorn years, it’s like walking on an incline of ball bearings.

  9. Wonderful photo and now I’m always going to look at an acorn and think my backyard visitors may be enjoying a “cheeseburger” today!🙂 Wonderful post and the acorns have been falling steadily around here.🙂

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