The Penn State Extension of Berks County Master Gardeners will be featuring questions and answers to inquires received through their Garden Hotline.
Q: Why are there more or less acorns in some years?
A: There are several logical reasons for this phenomenon. Here are a few potential scenarios:
• Environmental conditions, such as heavy spring rains, growing season flood events, drought and unusually high/low temperatures, can cause poor acorn pollination, acorn crop abortion and complete acorn crop failures.
• Early-season frosts can severely damage oak flowers resulting in poor pollination success.
• Some oak trees are genetically poor producers of acorns; absolutely nothing you can do about that.
• Acorn production dramatically decreases when oaks reach a certain age and/or a certain diameter.
• If your oak is in the red oak family, then you can typically expect heavier acorn crops every 3-5 years.
• If your oak is in the white oak family, then you can typically expect heavier acorn crops every 4-7 years.
• Pests or pathogens, confounded by weather-related phenomena, may also be responsible.
• It is quite common for older oaks to work in a two-year cycle, producing abundant crops of acorns one year, and next to nothing the following year, and continuing that pattern.
Q: I’ve been seeing large bees/wasps. Are these the murder hornets that I’ve been hearing about?
A: No. The Asian giant hornets are not found in Pennsylvania (yet). They have only been found in Washington State and British Columbia. What you have seen is the European hornet, which have been very active this year.
Check out this website (https://extension.psu.edu/european-hornet) for comparison pictures of the differences between the hornets. Continue to contact the Penn State Extension office if you suspect that you found the Asian giant hornet.
Penn State Master Gardeners with advanced diagnostic training staff the hotline, answering questions on lawn care, landscape plants, houseplants, fruit, vegetables and herbs, insect and disease issues and identification of unknown plants or insects. Advice is based on Integrated Pest Management strategies and environmentally-friendly approaches. For more information on these and other gardening-related topics, email the Garden Hotline at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-378-1327.
Source: Berkshire mont