Abundant Gathering Awaits
I know that gnats and mosquitoes have been extremely bothersome the last few weeks, but there is good news out there in the forests, pasture borders and stream banks. Now is a good time to check it out.
It seems spring was ideal for tree, shrub and bramble flowers, at least in many parts of southern Wisconsin. The spring temperatures and rainfall, for the most part, were favorable for what happens after blooming, too.
Pollination is sort of like egg laying among nesting birds. But it is what happens afterward that is critical, too. Fruits of all sorts need good weather, just as hatching birds need conditions favorable to growth and development. It appears that happened and those who gather nuts and berries should smile. And so should those who hunt where animals feed.
Now is the time to do some scouting to determine the status of fruit development, in spite of bothersome insects.
Mulberries and black raspberries are now being picked by the buckets. No drought is in sight to turn these berries into raisin-like blobs. These berries should remain plump and juicy as they ripen.
Most nut trees and shrubs seem to be loading up for a good fall drop. Walnuts, shagbark hickory nuts, and hazelnuts look particularly abundant. Both red and white oak groups also appear to be having a good nut year, in spite of the red oaks being on a two-year cycle. The acorns forming in the red oak group were started in 2012, while we are looking at 2013 acorns in the white oak group.
Blackberries are still green, turning a bit red, but it would take a major weather disaster to wipe that smile from anyone looking forward to wild berry pies and overflowing larders.
Of course these fruits, with their enclosed seeds are really for the plants themselves. Little plants come from seeds, which are hidden inside these dry and fleshy fruits.
But this year there appears to be enough to go around, enough for birds, mammals, humans, and to grow into more trees and shrubs, too.