We bought our house three years ago and it sits directly under an enormous Oak tree. Up until late this fall, I’d hardly even noticed that it drops acorns. This year was exceptional. It sounded like their was hail beating down on our roof practically non-stop for a month. There was a two inch thick layer of acorns in our front yard, and squirrels seemed to flock from miles to spend the afternoon in our tree.
I researched it online and found that Oaks have what is called a mast year every so often (many plants have mast years, also called bumper crops). It’s a year of extreme acorn production followed by several mild years. Some biologists believe mast years are weather related. Others think it’s an evolutionary survival trait. Low production keeps the squirrel population down. Then one year the trees produce so many nuts the squirrels can’t collect them all. This increases the chance that some of those nuts will become new trees. It also increases the chances that we’ll need a new roof this year.