Wildlife Sustained by Acorns
Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In days long past, the fruits of chestnuts were the most important source of mast in forests of the eastern United States. Today, acorns, fruits of red and white oaks, are the major source of winter food that large number of animals –blue jays, wild turkeys, squirrels, deer, black beer and more rely upon for sustenance.
In years with low mast production, hunters may have an easier time harvesting game as the animals are clustered in areas where more acorns fell. Conversely, a year with massive hard mast production lets the animals roam more widely. Good hunters pay attention to mast trees – oaks that are usually higher than the surrounding canopy and with extra sunlight tend to have a heavier set of acorns to drop. Research shows that fertilizing mature oaks usually doesn’t increase acorn production – it naturally varies from year to year.