The Nature Conservation Association is warning 2022 will be a record-breaking year for tree blossom with a forecast of “pollen rain” – the mass blooming of trees – in Austria over the coming days and weeks.
This phenomenon is known as a “mast year” (or “fattening year”) when several tree species undergo a synchronised mass propagation at the same time.
This year, almost all trees are blossoming at the same time, which experts believe to be a result of climate change.
According to Johannes Gepp, President of the Styrian Nature Conservation Association, Central Europe has experienced the flowering of some tree species every year for the last five years – something that only used to happen in intervals of seven years.
Gepp said: “The phenomenon of the mass blossoming of our trees extends equally across the whole of Central Europe, at least across the entire Eastern Alps and all the foothills.”
Recent dry periods might also be contributing to the stress blooming as nature’s way to restock forests after trees have died.
Gepp added: “Fattening years give opportunities for natural forest development. In the past 5 years, several mast years have yielded vast quantities of seeds, which grow into billions of young trees in our forests.”
This year, the Nature Conservation Association has already counted a quarter of a million flowers on a single field maple tree and 150,000 male inflorescences (a cluster of flowers on a branch) on a spruce.