Friday, October 27, 2006

The Hidden Drought

On a cool, grey morning after a day of misty rain, I was out to the garden, serenaded by the wild and forelorn call of loons on the pond. They perhaps are lamenting the loss of their dark Ontario lakes until spring. We have had about two inches of rain in the last two weeks, after three months of dry weather. Puddles by the side of the road are a welcome, if unfamiliar sight. Last year, the upper midwest suffered its worst drought since the dust bowl years... we did get some rain last fall, but the stress on the trees was apparent this spring, with many limbs dying back, for example, on the tall black cherry trees in our woods. The rain this year started promisingly, if still a bit below normal for us. Since mid-summer, upper Illinois, which suffered with us in dryness last year, has been deluged with rain, but once again eastern Iowa has been stricken with drought; the welcome rain in the last two weeks has replaced our topsoil moisture, but on digging down, one can see clearly that the top 8-9 inches of soil is wet, but the subsoil is still dry and hard. It's almost like desert caliche; the subsoil has set up like cement from the prolonged drought, so that water has trouble penetrating it... I fear for the tall trees, going into winter with their roots encased in dry cement.Posted by Picasa

I hate drought.
I will NEVER take rain for granted again!
Your post reminded me of when my two older boys were tots. They thought we lived in EASTER Iowa rathern than Eastern Iowa.

I hope you get a lot more rain. If you don't, I'm sure that the trees will be fine. Some might not like the added stress and die out, but that's how nature is. It will make space for something new.
Peggy... we need, I think, 4-5 inches before the ground freezes, and I doubt it's in the cards. i don't normally water stuff, but may have to soak at least a few of the rhodys and Japanese maples, to cut down on dieback.

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