What is Mast?
Mast is the botanical name for the nuts, seeds, buds, or fruits of trees and shrubs that are eaten by wildlife.
There are two main types of mast:
Hard mast includes hard nuts and seeds such as acorns, hickory nuts, and walnuts.
Soft mast includes berries and fruits such as crabapples, blueberries, and serviceberries.
The definition of mast is sometimes expanded to include the winged seeds of trees such as maple and elm, as well as pine seeds and nuts and even buds, hips, and catkins such as rose hips.
Both types are important year-round food sources for wildlife, but hard mast is often considered more important, especially as a winter food source, due to its higher energy content.