Seed Production and Dissemination
The seed is dispersed from September through December. Mockernut hickory requires a minimum of 25 years to reach commercial seed-bearing age. Optimum seed production occurs from 40 to 125 years, and the maximum age listed for commercial seed production is 200 years.
Good seed crops occur every 2 to 3 years with light seed crops in intervening years. Approximately 50 to 75 percent of fresh seed will germinate. Fourteen mockernut hickory trees in southeastern Ohio produced an average annual crop of 6,285 nuts for 6 years; about 39 percent were sound, 48 percent aborted, and 13 percent had insect damage. Hickory shuckworm (Laspeyresia caryana) is probably a major factor in reducing germination.
Mockernut hickory produces one of the heaviest seeds of the hickory species; cleaned seeds range from 70 to 250 seeds/kg (32 to 113/lb). Seed is disseminated mainly by gravity and wildlife, particularly squirrels. Birds also help disperse seed. Wildlife such as squirrels and chipmunks often bury the seed at some distance from the seed-bearing tree.
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... In forest stands, black oak begins to produce seeds at about age 20 and reaches optimum production at 40 to 75 years ... It is a consistent seed producer with good crops of acorns every 2 to 3 years ... The number of seeds that become available for regenerating black oak may be low even in good seed years ...
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