Sowing seeds from a mighty oak on the ‘wood wide web’

One bright morning in September 2019, Jeremy Turkington found himself crouched over a thick carpet of acorns that had dropped from the ancient Brian Boru oak in Co Clare. It was a harvest he had been anticipating for months.

We’d been scouting the tree for seeds since June and knew it was showing signs of a heavy mast of acorns,” says the arboriculturalist. A “heavy mast” happens every five to 10 years, when an oak drops a bumper crop of around 100 acorns per square metre.

“That week of September had high rainfall and severe autumn winds. The night before we’d had tail winds from Storm Lorenzo, which I knew was enough to cause a ‘Big Drop’. And sure enough, on that sunny morning – the calm after the storm – the ‘Big Drop’ had happened.”

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