The assisted regeneration of oaks can be achieved through seeding or planting. Whereas direct seeding of acorns has several advantages over planting nursery-grown seedlings, the problem of seed predation by mammals precludes its widespread application. We investigated the potential of diesel as a mammal repellent to prevent the consumption of Holm oak acorns. We tested the effect of submerging acorns in diesel for 0, 6, 12, and 24 h on acorn predation in a field experiment in the Sierra Nevada Natural Park (Granada province, Spain), and the potential effect of the same treatments on seedling emergence and growth in a nursery experiment. The field experiment showed no reduction in acorn predation through diesel. On the other hand, submersion in diesel hindered the germination of one in every four sown acorns regardless of submersion time. Our results are in line with many failed attempts to protect acorns with chemical repellents and suggest that an effective, universally-abundant, inexpensive, and easy-to-apply acorn protector to enhance the success of seeding operations is yet to be found.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited