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Name: John R
Status: other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 9/15/2004


Question:
We have an oak tree in our yard and this year we haven't noticed any acorns on it. It is a large mature tree and has produced large amounts of acorns other years.


Replies:
The number of acorns produced might vary, e.g., large crop years are called "mast years." The following article suggests that climatic/environmental conditions can result in no or few acorns in some trees.

Title: Influence of weather at time of pollenation on acorn production of Quercus alba and Quercus velutina
Author: Cecich, Robert A.; Sullivan, Neal H.
Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 29(12): 1817-1823. (1999)

Anthony Brach Ph.D.


Dear John,

Indeed, fruit production can be quite variable from one year to the next. This is likely to be due to environmental factors either enhancing or suppressing fruit production during one season with a balancing change the next year. If this year was particularly low for acorn production, one would have to consider other more singular possibilities. For example, do you live in a region where the 17-yr cicadas emerged?

Dr. Jim Tokuhisa



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