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I Have Lived In A Very Wooded Area (many Evergreens)…

Paula Asked

I have lived in a very wooded area (many evergreens) for the past 34 years. In the last two days one tree has been dropping green cones all over the ground and on my deck. They appear to be coming from near the top of the tree, which is very tall. There is no wind and no sign of any animal or bird. I have never seen this happen before and can’t imagine what is causing it.

The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Paula in Washington: The only logical explanation to this question is that the squirrels have found this pine and are scavenging for seeds. You would think that you would have seen this happen in the past 34 years of living in your home but some years are more productive than others in terms of pine cone production. Squirrels bite off unripe cones this time of year, gather them, and store their seeds for food. The cones that conifers produce are actually organs necessary for reproduction. The female cones contain seeds inside them. The male cones produce pollen and are usually much smaller than the female cones. When the cones become mature they fall off and break open or break down, allowing the seeds inside to be dispersed either by wind or sometimes birds, depending on the species. In your case they are being removed from the evergreen before they mature, making it easier for the squirrels to harvest them. It would make sense that these cones are coming from the top of the evergreen. Female cones are found at the top of the trees and the smaller male cones are found lower on the same tree..

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