I noticed there isn’t an overabundance of acorns being produced by the oak trees this year. That should mean a mild winter, right? The theory is that when a tough winter is coming, there would be a lot more acorns produced to help the animals survive the cold and snowy winter ahead.
But the oak isn’t really concerned with whether or not your neighborhood squirrels have enough to eat. It is, however, concerned with its own survival; as a species.
Roger Wrubel at Massachusetts Audubon‘s Habitat and Education Center in Belmont says it’s all part of a cycle; an irregular cycle. “Probably from about two-to-five years, oak trees will produce lots more acorns than they usually do,” he says. “The tree wants to produce young trees, so by flooding the system with acorns in one year, it overwhelms the predators that are out there.”
That means that the squirrels and other critters won’t be able to eat all the acorns, ensuring that many will become oak trees.