When Trees Go Nuts

Published on May 10, 2018
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Every once in a while, all the oaks or spruces or other plants in a region suddenly produce a tremendous bounty of seeds - up to 100 times more than usual. But why do they do it, and how do they all manage to sync up?
To learn more about mast seeding, start your googling with these keywords:
Mast Year: A year in which all the plants of a particular species in a region ramp up their seed production.
Predator Satiation Hypothesis: The hypothesis that mast seeding is a strategy plants use for controlling the population of squirrels and other seed-eating animals.

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Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Script Editor: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Video Illustrator: Ever Salazar (@eversalazar)
Video Director: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Video Narrator: Emily Elert (@eelert)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Kate Yoshida, Peter Reich, David Goldenberg
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder: www.soundcloud.com/drschroeder
Fletcher, Quinn E., Stan Boutin, Jeffrey E. Lane, Jalene M. LaMontagne, Andrew G. McAdam, Charles J. Krebs, and Murray M. Humphries. 2010. “The Functional Response of a Hoarding Seed Predator to Mast Seeding.” Ecology 91 (9): 2673-83.
Kelly, Dave, and Victoria L. Sork. 2002. “Mast Seeding in Perennial Plants: Why, How, Where?” Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 33 (1). Annual Reviews: 427-47.
Kelly, D. 1994. “The Evolutionary Ecology of Mast Seeding.” Trends in Ecology & Evolution 9 (12): 465-70.
LaMontagne, J. 2018. Personal Communication.


  • If you find our videos intreeguing, please support us through Patreeon! www.patreon.com/minuteearth Or, click the "Sponsor" button to support us through US-tv itself. Affectionutly yours, MiNutEarth

    • MinuteEarth I love you

    • Seriously. This comment needs more likes.

    • MinuteEarth I THINK ALL OF UR VIDS R AWSOME!!!!

    • MinuteEarth can you do a video about Hippopotamuses please?

    • you make 3 videos a month that are 2 mins long and 1 min begging for money at the end of the video, why do you employ 8 people for 6 mins of TOTAL video a month?

  • Tree sex lol X3.


  • I was born on April 2010!

    • Dorothy Isidro Wow, I was in 4th grade in 2010. Have fun kid, childhood dosen't last long.

  • 2018?

  • Subscribe to me coz this vid was sponsored by *ME*

  • Never knew trees were so smart.

  • it becomes doodoo

  • Thanks for the interesting video. I wondered if they reduced yield the 1-2 previous seasons. This would reduce the squirrel population while allowing the trees to save energy or allocating energy to roots and canopy to harvest energy better next year. Trees do track time, and synchronize flowering. Apple trees produce ever other year.

  • MAST(urbat)ING

  • Now I feel bad for eating plant babies

  • 0:01 _Was Brought To You By You_

  • I love that thumbnail

  • A Dad joke? Wait, a MOM joke?

  • I read "When trees grow nuts" And i thought it was "that" nuts...

  • Poop

  • Like the rhyme

  • In Jamaica, there's no trees nuts

  • let them save the world

  • I was born in 2010

  • Actually there is evidence that points to that they can communicate with each other.

  • Trees should make no nuts the year before masting.

  • im actually from finland

  • i was born on the year after 2010 that is 2011

  • Sperm is what you swallow while dating that mintephysics dude. And the stuff trees spread is called pollen

  • This made me nut

  • why do we have so much water

  • That tree got aborted

  • If mushrooms can communicate with trees then they can communicate with each other to send a trees 🌳 message to a another 🌲

  • Aaaaaa

  • 2:16 Quizzer: Is that a pregnant squirrel, or did it just eat lots of nuts? Contestant: *ACORNS!!* Quizzer: Nuts still work, though. Contestant: Oh. Is it... pregnant? Quizzer: Nope! It just ate lots of nuts. Contestant (thinking): *darn, now I'm out of the game >:-(*

  • I was born in 2010

  • Go to minute earth #www.minuteearth.com

  • Go to m

  • So I'm allergic to tree sperm 😕😕😕😕😕😕😕😕😕😕

  • Wait... trees go nuts lol

  • It's because they're TREEting each other

  • so it was a massive tree orgy? damn, those naughty trees, they need jesus.

  • Yay

  • Are they friable? If so I can make em go extinct in the first day.....FRYED ACORNS

  • Can we change the name of masting into nutting ?

  • That’s nuts

  • too much cuteness in one animation

  • But wait.. first you told us that plants communicate by their roots

  • 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾 🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲 🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🥜🥜🥜🥜🥜🥜🥜🥜🥜🥜🥜🥜

  • When you say they cannot talk, it's not to say that they don't communicate. They found large regions of trees in the northwest of United States communicating via a mycelium Network.

  • MinuteEarth Delivering Puns Since ????


  • I thought it was gonna be a joke video.

  • Yay

  • *_-N U T-_*

  • This should be fairly easy to prove

  • Bitch stop saying tree sex....please😑

  • So trees have a concience?

  • Wait....arent trees female and male at the same time?🤔

  • nice animation

  • If only i was old enough to have a job i would definitely sponsor this amazing channel... Im only 16 tho... But still a loyal supporter

  • The first graph showed with squirrel icons probably should have looked more like a sigmoid (logistic) curve. To me, it seemed almost like the top section of a logarithmic function! When populations transition from one carrying capacity (or their lag phase) to another, it almost always resembles the same S-style curve.

  • I hate being talked to like I'm a kindergartener.

  • Turkish subtitle please

  • Why do Birds Live so Long?

  • Species, feces, They RHYME!

  • Just let me know when you get home

  • can you do somthing with octopues, btw i love your videos

  • Save Trees Save Lives 😘😘

  • "tree sex extravaganza"

  • OMG, does the hyena have a knife?!. *illuminati music plays*

  • It is possible they "talk" to each other. Symbiotic relationships between trees and fungi (fungi are the largest single living organisms on earth) could provide chemical queues to the whole forrest.

  • Sometimes i like my own comment to get it started.

  • tanks

  • Hey just wondering. Did we evolve from reptiles (we have that thing that reptiles have on the side of our eye)

  • Can you make a jojo’s referance?

  • Appreciate your sharing! 👍🏼 👍 😍

  • Your running out of good rimes

  • Are you going nuts with tree sex?

  • Did you know that someone is copying you? Or better earning money from your job?

  • Arabic translate!!!Arabic translate!!!Arabic translate!!! Arabic translate!!!Arabic translate!!!

  • i have a guestion that i really want to know the answer too why is the sky blue??????

  • 0:12 ITS AUTUMN

  • Why is water translucent or transparent whatever it is.

  • I love your puns!!

  • I like how the last graph shows an increase in the squirrel population and then a die-off. Economics has the same root as ecology.

  • Bro How you did that animation. I Just want to know the software used........... Kindly respond to the query

  • Cute pictures

  • trees can have sex? what position? I'm interristed

  • 718th

  • Why don't the trees just not produce any acorns at all on most years and then only produce acorns once a few years?

  • I don't know why but I feel good after watching your videos. A video explaining that phenomenon would be appreciated

    • haha that would be like inception for their videos! "A video explaining why our videos make you feel the way you do after watching our videos"

  • I love the animation! the trees are soo cute :)

  • You're implying WAY too much intentionality here...

    • Haha did you ever watch scrubs? THE TOD would have loved this episode

  • *T R E E O R G Y*

  • Read a book on trees, apparently they are able to communicate through intricate root systems and also send signals with underground fungi. Some times they produce lots of nuts because they are dying, spending the last energy to reproduce.

    • YES! We're doing an episode on this soon :D :D :D! See people, plants ARE interesting!

  • Guess this: B OBO (hint: primate)

  • Guess this rebus: 🥘O (Hint: a vegetable)

  • So this happened when I was almost born!!!

  • One tree was very lonely I guess you could say they are in Soli-tree now. (I AM TRYING TO MAKE A GOOD PUN XD)

  • 0:40 it's not that weird, because Plants like Trees can communicate with each other through the ground and even trough the air with chemicals www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-whispering-trees-180968084/

  • Masting=Tree orgy

    • Tree Orgy = the weirdest imagery being thought up in my head right now

  • What a big orgy

  • Trees can give birth? Weird!