Oak Seedlings

photo and text by Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors editor Polly Saltonstall

These are not ferns or any other low growing ground cover. Rather they are oak seedlings. The result of last year’s massive acorn drop. I read somewhere that oak trees plan this. They go a 4 or 5 years without producing many acorns, thereby starving out predators such as squirrels and chipmunks so that in the 5th or 6th year when the trees produce a bumper crop of acorns (the technical term is mast year), there are fewer animals around to eat them and hence more seeds have a chance to germinate. I’m curious to see how many of these seedlings actually take off. It’s truly an amazing sight.