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Do all of those acorns mean a tough winter?

Posted at 10:12 PM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 19:10:00-04

CLEVELAND — It's a bumper crop of acorns this year for many of you across Northern Ohio. And this has you asking, "Mark, does this mean its going to be a rough Winter?"

For the past 200 years, popular folklore passed down from generation to generation says that a heavy acorn crop on your local oak tree is a sure-fire sign that the coming winter season is going to be a doozy!

But, is this true? Does a few extra acorns now predict the weather for the next few months?

Scientists have long known that fruit and nuts trees, and even some flowering plants, have a "super harvest." That means, every two to five years, fruit and nut-bearing trees around the region will produce an enormous crop, much larger than normal. But, research studies have really failed to come up with a solid reason why this happens.

Some theorize that these trees have evolved to produce a bumper crop every few years because, during normal years, almost all of the "seeds" needed to grow new seedlings are gobbled up by forest critters such as squirrels, deer and turkey. The trees have evolved to produce an over-abundance of seeds every few years to insure that new trees will grow and the species will survive.

The weather is also responsible, at least in part, for these bumper crops. But, it's not the weather of the future, it's actually the weather of the past that can help produce a very large crop of acorns.

Most trees and shrubs form their fruit and flower blossoms that bloom in spring during the previous summer. Which means that this years fruit buds that produced a monster crop of acorns were actually formed by the tree August of 2018.

If the weather was warm and the rains abundant, then the tree was not stressed and formed enough fruit buds to produce this big acorn crop this year. Extremely dry summers tend to limit acorn production for the following year. In other words: you can thank this year's booming acorn crop on the weather...from last year.

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