We've had dry seasons before, and dry summers, and some summers that were crispy. This one takes the cake. The unseasonably warm winter led to a dry but pleasant spring, which we are now paying for.
The good news is that there were not as many inch worms as I expected this spring, the bad news is that due to the dry winter, there was an explosion of gypsy moth caterpillars, which apparently suffer from some kind of fungus in wet years, but this year they were free to proliferate. The cemetery didn't suffer much damage from them, though in other parts of the area they went to town on the trees.
The drought is taking a toll on the young trees, which we have tried to stave off by putting make shift watering bags on. (heavy duty trash bags with pin holes along the bottoms, tied up with zip ties) The larger trees are just hanging in there as best they can. I see many have dumped some of their leaves, some started to turn early.. We wont know the damage until later I think.
There has been a little rain in the last few weeks, very little but enough to bring the grass back from crunchy to crabgrass at least. The crabgrass and other usual weeds have been virtually nonexistent this year as well, which hasn't been good for the birds and bees. Also missing are the bugs that the birds feed on. It's a mixed blessing when there are no mosquitoes.
As we head into late summer, the heat is still on outside, mid to high 80s. Some towns are down to a 30 day supply of water in their ponds and reserves. It's going to be interesting if we don't get some serious rain. Meanwhile in Louisiana they got 2 feet of rain in a day? And California burns. Last winter was an El-Nino winter, but supposedly that has gone by now.. So we'll see how this winter plays out.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
The spring inch worm infestation had a noticeable affect on the quantity of the leaves that we didn't have to rake this fall. Though there are still leaves to pick up, they are far fewer than in any other year I can recall. Also due to the dry summer and fall, we were able to mulch leaves a lot longer than in many years.
The long warm winter was also conducive to the breeding winter moths, so I expect another heavy infestation in the spring.
This was the warmest year on record, around the globe. For the third year in a row. Sad to say that inch worms may be the least of the worries of the trees in the cemetery.