Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Our Tulip Tree as Harbinger?

Our Tulip Tree as Harbinger?

Our Tulip tree is finally shedding its leaves. I say finally because it usually starts the process in August, turning its leaves golden well before the other neighborhood trees begin changing and by the end of the month, its limbs are bare – a hint of Autumn before the season officially changes. So here it is, early October, and the tree is only beginning to lose its foliage. What is going on?

Tulip leaves are sensitive to water. When the weather is dry, the typical condition in August, the tree feels water stress and the leaves tend to lose their viability. But this year, according to the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist at Rutgers University, while we had a rather warm July, we also had the wettest June on record and the second wettest summer so the tree had less stress and stayed leafy.

It was nice to have the tree so green for so long but this was not usual summer weather. Will this be what summer is like from now on? Anything that alters weather shifts what we can expect from the vegetation. With so much information coming out about how the climate is changing worldwide, it may seem like a little thing to be concerned about individual plants. Yet weather conditions affect all things, be it the soil, plants, insects, animals, humans. I know that weather goes in cycles. I also know that we have changed the atmosphere through our activities on earth. Perhaps the Tulip tree is one of the harbingers of change, of what will be the new normal. As my father used to say when I asked a question he couldn’t answer, “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

From The Washington Post Health and Science section:

Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist at Rutgers University rain statistics:

No comments:

Post a Comment