A Mast Year



A mast year for Oaks?  Mast years are a survival strategy worth studying.  Produce a lot of food, see your predator population explode, but hope your fecundity enables survivors, even with the predator explosion.  In this garden, yes--or perhaps because the local oak's predator, rabbits, have plummeted in population this past year thanks to the bold (and hungry) Coyote pair living one gully south.  Or the neighbor's young oaks are only now producing highly viable acorns--have you ever noticed the first flowers of young perennial plants do not set seed?  I've seen that with many plants--the first year of flowers, though well-visited by bees produced no seed--subsequent years, plenty of seed.

This one is growing rapidly in damp shade must be moved because it has sprouted inches away from a block wall.  I thought the rabbits would have eaten it by now, but the rabbits apparently have themselves been eaten.  


Anyway, many baby Oaks.  A few in spots where they may stay and hopefully prosper.  Others have no chance unless I move them.  The largest are in the dampest, shadiest spots, and are triple the size of the couple in full sun.  One I moved to a good but too-sunny spot has already died--it was fine until we got a few days of 80F.  Then, kaput.

This one is in deep shade and looks to be reaching for sun.  Must be moved--it is right next to a Eugenia:


How many will survive?  I put a rabbit-guard around the ones in the spots where they might have a chance to grow to maturity.  I'm going to try moving a badly-placed one to the place where the first transplant died.  Given a little artificial shade and regular water it may make it. 

In a vegetable bed that will soon be full of tomato plants.  This one is struggling in full sun.


This one may have to duke it out with one on the other side of 'Cressida' rose.  They both look strong and healthy:


The one on the other side of 'Cressida'.  This one looks better:


This appeared in between between some cutting roses:


Another in the same area:



Another in the tomato patch, tolerating if not enjoying full sun. 
 
The adult and juvenile oaks in the neighborhood are suddenly (within the past week) bursting forth with new foliage.  Compared with the drought years of '07 and '08, when they had essentially no new growth, the amount of new growth this year is quite amazing. 

It would be cool to be able to look upon these nine oaks in a few decades and say,  "These fine trees are all from the Mast Year of 2011, born right here as fallen acorns, moved with my own hands."  It would be even more cool to live long to be able to say it.

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