Acorn Agon

November 16th, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

oaktobe

Nearly two months ago, a friend of my wife lamented the lack of acorns in these parts. She has a stake in it, as a wild foods type. She leads foraging tours, including gathering oak fruit to make bread with as a reward. Not this year.

Folks at the Globe covered the dearth today (unfortunately behind their rapacious paywall). Not even the experts they quote are exactly sure why. It may be that two years of lots of acorn output depleted the oaks. Alternately, the heavy rains of the past two years might be to blame. It seems it takes about 18 months after such moisture that prevents pollination for the effect to be seen in acorn output.

Regardless, everyone paying attention agrees that there aren’t many this year and that may continue into 2012’s fall.

For us that will have some small, but nasty effects. Our wild rodents will be hungry. The chipmunks, squirrels and such are seeking other food. That will likely be out of the trash, those expensive bulbs we, including I, recently planted for the spring and summer flowers, and next year’s vegetables.

While inconvenient to us, this will be fatal for a majority of those rodents. The experts quoted say up to 90% of chipmunks and maybe half the squirrels will die.  Beyond that, the birds and mammals that prey on the rodents will hunt other food, like raptors killing more birds instead. Bigger critters, like deer, bears and raccoons will like survive, but may come closer to humans, and mess with more trashcans.

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