Mast Year for Area Oak Trees Makes for Massive Acorn Crop, Well-Fed Deer


That clonk on your car hood or thump on the roof is happening more often this fall as area oak trees experience what’s called a mast year.

The term “mast” comes from the old English “mæst,” meaning a bumper crop. In botany, mast means any kind of fruit or nut that falls to the ground to produce fodder for wildlife. A mast year denotes a season in which various species of trees synchronize their reproduction and drop large amounts of fruit and/or nuts – in this case, acorns.

Mast years for oak trees occur periodically when weather, genetics, and available resources converge to encourage reproduction. They are typically followed by seasons with few acorns. What’s less understood is how organisms communicate with each other to synchronize the effort.


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