How Oaks and Beeches Control Their Predators

Laidback Gardener

During a mast year, squirrels find more acorns than they can eat. Ill.:, montage:

Squirrels, jays and other nut-eating animals like nothing better than fattening up on acorns, chestnuts and beechnuts in preparation for winter. They’re rich in oils, protein and carbohydrates, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and the vitamin niacin. Not only do nut-munchers stuff themselves on the nuts, they bury countless others for future eating… then either forget to dig them back up or finally don’t use them, as they typically hide far more than they’d need when the harvest is good. Thus, they actually plant future beech, chestnut and oak forests, bending to the will of the trees.

Population Control

And oaks, chestnuts and beeches are even craftier than you might think. If they produced equal numbers of nuts every year, the squirrel and jay population would remain high and they’d consume most of the…

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