Surviving Drought


| 10/29/2020 9:37:00 AM


 

Colorado is a semi-arid state and recently, with no moisture in our area, we have been living during a severe drought. I read on one of the state news outlets that 100 percent of Colorado is now in Stage 2 to 4 drought conditions. In our immediate area, we have not had any moisture for 6 weeks.

Drought has an effect on just about everything within the area it impacts. It spawns wildfires. Coupled with wind, it fills the air with dust and ash, and the trees and wildlife are also impacted by it. With all of the state experiencing drought, 59.23% is Stage 3, or extreme drought. There is 16.72% in exceptional drought, the worst type, and the rest of the state is in stage 2 or severe drought. So how do we deal with drought conditions to survive?

Trees

I have observed that the trees — both conifer and aspen — seem to have defense mechanisms to deal with times of drought. Aspen trees are actually a family of trees all connected by a shared root system. From what I have observed when they are stressed from drought they drop leaves and small branches. The conifers seem to do the same only they drop needles. I have had an abundance of pine needles and aspen leaves and twigs to clean up this summer.



Trees Tell History

We have had what appear to be mature and healthy aspen trees fall over. Some have been up to 125 years old. Aspen trees tend to hold large quantities of water and hence are good to study for past droughts. When I cut them for firewood, I like to look at the rings to see growth cycles. In some trees the growth rings are so close I can only count them with a magnifying glass. They reflect past droughts that may have lasted 12 to 15 years in duration. Then there will be good growth years followed by another drought and the growth rings record the same cycle repeating itself again. I’m sure there are very accurate scientific methods of determining drought but I tend to look at growth rings of trees and study the trees themselves.



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