Monday, September 15, 2014
The Long Term Effects of Drought
I know it's been two years since the horrible Summer of 2012 when just about everything around here dried up and died from the drought. This year has been an amazing growing year with bumper corn and soybean crops in Missouri. We had one dry spell in July and August but luckily it wasn't exceptionally hot so there were very little casualties. The grass has kept growing, the weeds have been especially out of control and in some places like here at the Small-Hold we have managed to get four or even five cuttings on Alfalfa and other hay crops.
Yet the scars of 2012 still remain believe it or not.
Dutch clover was hit especially hard in 2012. As widespread as it seems to be in yards and other areas that get mowed often it really does require at least an average rainfall to stay alive. Mix the dryness in with some high temps and the stuff dies quickly. My own acreage of Dutch clover I had been carefully allowing to grow over about a 3 acre area has taken two years to begin to creep back into some parts of the yard and is no where near as thick as it was back in 2011. The same thing can be said for Dandelions as well they only just managed to come back this year and fell far short of their 2011 glory.
Recently I mentioned hauling some downed Oak trees for some friends. The drought of 2012 allowed a fungus that effects Oak trees to spread and is still claiming victims two years after the drought. In some ways this is good for me but Oaks are just one variety of tree that are still feeling the effects of 2012. Many trees of all types were stressed from dry, hot conditions and have yet to bounce back fully. Hickory trees in particular have yet to foliate out as fully as they used to and I have seen several Walnuts that still look rather stressed as well.
Drought is certainly nothing to make light of. While annual crops and some species can thrive during periods of drought and bounce back quickly other aspects of a drought can continue to manifest themselves for years. Despite rainfall that has at least hit the average mark this year, most of Missouri is still rated as exceptionally dry due to lower moisture content in the middle layers of the soil. While this typically doesn't effect crops and small plants it is still a major issue for trees.
Some fruit and Nut trees actually produce in much greater amounts during dry or drought spells. Pecans and Persimmons especially are known around here for high production during dry spells and due to the conditions I mentioned above this year looks like it is going to be a good year for them.
Maybe it's just natures way of making up for the horrible drought conditions that were sent our way.
My guess is that this year's crop is going to be sufficiently large enough to allow the scavenging racoons, deer and possums to get their share and leave enough for those of us who want to experiment and add some foraging to our normal Sustainer activities. A Winter of enjoying some Persimmon preserves while basking in the heat of an Oak fire from the wood furnace might be just what the doctor ordered.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!