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deerlover
09-07-2006, 11:57 AM
I have noticed some of the acorn trees, dropping small green acorns. I think they are white oaks (pointed leaves). Are they falling pre-maturely and is that the reason they are green? Will they be bitter to the deer? I am asking this, cause I have never concentrated my hunts around oaks before, but after last year, I feel that if the deer are going to feast on oaks again, I need to hunt them or face the facts of not seeing the deer that I want to.

Here are the facts: We have had a pretty bad drought this year. Does this affect the acorn crop ( I have heard that drought is good for mast producing trees and their acorn crop - is this true?). Is the reason they are falling and green now, the result of the drought?

HabitatMD
09-07-2006, 12:11 PM
Poined leaves are typically part of the red oak family. As for the premature dropping and bitterness. I'd love to hear input.

cummins5.9
09-07-2006, 12:16 PM
The leaves you see I believe indicate a red oak. If I am not mistaken, red oaks only drop acorns every other year. If they are green, they are most likely immature and probably very bitter. I doubt the deer will eat them. If I had to guess, the drought you had(much like what we had here in central MO) probably caused the trees to drop their fruit early since they went into survival mode. I could be wrong and I'm sure I'm missing something. I get my tree facts confused sometimes.

BSK_
09-07-2006, 12:17 PM
Either stressed trees or trees dumping their excess. Generally deer don't eat the under-developed acorns as readily as mature acorns, but if they are the only acorn on the ground...

mpmedical
09-07-2006, 12:58 PM
Have no fear. Those green acorns are just dropping a little early because of the dry weather you had. The deer won't feed on them yet but subsequent acorns will become more brown as the season progresses and they continue to fall. White oaks have rounded leaves. Black, Red and Pinn oaks have pointed leaves.

GR8RALLY
09-07-2006, 04:10 PM
Deerlover, seems we are both having the same issue except, I've excessive rain. No drought here, but still the acorns from my red oaks are dropping early as well. I read that this year will not be good for acorns, but the apples will do extremly well here in NY due to the abundance of rain.

Any oak experts here on the forum able to explain the issue of early acorn droppings??

GR8RALLY
09-07-2006, 04:13 PM
Just read the post under Native Habitat section concerning the early droppings of acorn. Thanks.

Buckstopshere
09-07-2006, 05:13 PM
For Red Oaks, it is not unusual for the trees to drop some of their acorns early. I don't know how bad your drought is. Here in Western NY it has been a perfect summer, not to wet and not to dry.
The early acorn fall happens each year, before the main acorn fall. Here, the mice, squirrels, deer, and turkey clean up under the trees pretty well, so its hard to tell that there is an early acron drop.
Red Oaks do not produce a bumper crop each year in average soils, where I am in Western New York, its a bumper crop about every four years as a rule.
(But nature doesn't put all her eggs in one basket and there are always a few trees with acorns.) And if the soil was amended under the oaks, they may produce bumper crops with greater frequency. That being said, studies have shown that oak trees are individuals. Some produce great amounts of acorns, some are very poor producers and some never seem to have any acorns.

Last year, in '05 we had a bumper crop and the acorns fell early, even heavier than we are seeing now, but that only stands to reason because you could see the clumps of acorns up in the high leaves with binos. This year, its pretty sparse.

Oak trees starve their predators out by having bumper crops once every few years. We might think that a tree "should" produce every year, but if it did it would cause a huge increase in the predators (squirrels, chipmunks, deer mice, etc.) And in fact, what they do is give them a bumper crop so the following year, there is a big population of rodents. That following year though, there are not a lot of acorns for feed, so the mice and squirrels dine on moths instead, which are one of the pests that attack the oak trees. Then the following years, the squirrel/ mouse population tails off. Then when the four years are up and predator population is low, the oaks have another bumper crop, too large for the predators (mice, squirrels, etc.) to handle. Its nature's way. Boom and bust. Also, the trees "rest" because it takes a lot of minerals and carbos to produce an acorn. Acorns have a fat content of 18% while corn ranges from between nine and 13%. That's why deer prefer acorns over corn.

Incidently, on the years directly after a bumper crop of acorns, there is of course a sharp rise in the deer mouse population. The deer mouse is integral in the deer tick cycle. So expect to see a higher incidence of Lyme Disease in years following the bumper crop of acorns. A word to the wise...

Sorry for the long post.

timberdoodle
09-07-2006, 11:30 PM
Your post was not too long Buckstopshere. I enjoyed reading it. Mother nature sure knows what she is doing.

outdoorstom
09-08-2006, 08:19 AM
Thanks for the detailed explanation, Buckstopshere. Great post.

ohatech
09-08-2006, 02:47 PM
Good reading guys...thanks