The climate is changing

Wed. Jun. 12, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: The climate is changing

Those of us who have gardened for some time and those who spend a lot of time in nature have noticed the changes in our climate. There’s really no mistaking it. Science tells this and so do our plants. I talked with you before about the Nerstrand Big Woods, a state park very close to where I live.

They have seen many old growth trees die out due to the amount of unusual moisture that is, literally, drowning swaths of trees in the forest. Jake Froyum is a Forester with the DNR and covers a nine county area which includes the Big Woods. He was asked to assist in assessing a large number of dying trees in which the rain events have flooded a 200 acre area, saturating the ground killing maples and oaks and others.

Ponding on forest floor

The other problem is that Green Ash, which are more tolerant of moist conditions, are filling in. That brings in the emerald ash borer, which is in the area.

Green Ash tree, while lovely, it’s susceptible to EAB

They next consulted on a prescription for diversity of species that can handle the now wetter conditions and yet are not completely foreign to the area.

They set up 5 acres of sample area with a plant list including Swamp White Oak, Cottonwood, Silver maple, certain types of Aspen and even some willows. He added that it’s difficult to match species in such a broad spectrum of conditions.

Swamp White Oak

There are other areas where there will be no intervention to see what will happen.

They’re moving on this very scientifically with mapping each tree planted and documenting weather, soil and growth over years. Froyum said this specific situation is somewhat unique in the amount of die-off. That’s one of the reasons they’re monitoring it so closely.

He added that change is part of any natural system. There’s also been significant tree loss due to multiple tornadoes last year in my area.

Weather has been more volatile. Climate change or just a cycle?