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Why are ash trees producing so many seeds this year?

Editor's note: The following is the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' "Question of the Week."

Question: The ash trees in my yard are producing lots of seeds this year, more than in previous years. How unusual is this? Is it weather related?

Answer: Trees produce large amounts of seed for a couple of reasons. Trees under stress from drought, soil compaction, or planting "off-site" may produce more seed to ensure another generation. Weather can also impact the number of seeds a tree produces. Ash are wind-pollinated, so if there are heavy rains during flowering, pollen is unable to travel by wind, and seed set and production can be reduced.

In some species of trees, heavy seed production occurs normally every few years.

--Val Cervenka, forest health program coordinator, DNR Forestry Division