10 years before the mast?
June 7, 2014 5:44 PM Subscribe
Do trees respond to a harsh winter by producing a larger volume of seeds in the following spring?
posted by Cold Lurkey to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
After the harshest winter of my lifetime, I seem to be noticing a simply obscene abundance of tree seeding activity from a variety of trees in my neighborhood. The cottonwood is piling up into 5 inch drifts, the whirlygigs came down in gobbets (one even worked its way into a breast pocket) and the elms are just plastered with seeds. It is a staggering amount of biomass*. I have lived here with these same trees for almost 10 years, and I don't recall anything on this scale before.
Question 1: Is there any scholarly work, or even folkloric knowledge, that indicates a correlation between winter severity and mast seeding events?
Question 2: Are there any regional data collection efforts, accessible to the public, that monitor or track data along these lines?
*I am the sort of person that tracks the flowering time of trees on calendars, but still prone to observational bias, of course. It may not even be an above average year, productionwise, for all I know, but the allergy prone people around here seem to agree that this spring is a real kick in the sinuses.