Thursday, July 12, 2012


Perhaps you are wondering, “Why is she running fall photos in July?” The answer is that these are not photos of fall foliage. I took them this morning.

The lack of rain is starting to have a devastating effect on the forest here on Roundtop. The grass is as brown as ripe wheat. The forest understory is crackling and withered. And now the leaves on the trees, even large trees, are yellowing and falling to the ground. At this point, the majority of the yellowing leaves are from tulip poplars. At first I thought the yellowing was restricted to the trees at the forest’s edge. Naturally, those would bear the brunt of the sun and its heat. That is not the case, though I do think those edge trees look worse than the ones deeper into the forest.

Though tulip poplars are the species that is most affected by the dry weather, they aren’t the only one. Locust trees are affected, too, and even a smattering of white oaks are among the leaves scattered on the ground.

Although the last week’s heat wave has dissipated, this week’s temperatures have been normal. But a week of extreme heat followed by a week of normal heat but no rain is enough to weaken even the largest trees in this forest. It has now been more than three weeks since any measurable rain has fallen. June’s precipitation was actually above normal, but all of it fell in the first few weeks of the month.

The only chance of rain in the forecast over the next week or so is in the low possibility for thunderstorms. So this situation is only likely to worsen. I’m not one who enjoys thunderstorms—lightning has struck too close to the cabin and winds strong enough to down trees have worried me too many times for that! But I’m starting to hope for a thunderstorm to bring some much-needed rain to this forest.

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