Field of Science

Drought worrying at official start

It remains bone dry here in the upper midwest of the USA.  January is almost at an end and the amount of precipitation has been way below average.  This area has received none for the past 10 days or so.  The ground is bare exposing ground level plants to the worse of the recent cold without any of the insulating properties of snow.  For many years during my childhood a small mimosa tree/shrub survived in our garden just about 3 miles south of Lake Ontario in an area which was a hard zone five.  My Mother was a southerner who really liked this reminder of the south, so it was planted where a snow drift reliably formed, and if you know anything at all about the snow belt of upstate NY, the snow is reliable.  Any part of the mimosa sticking up got frozen, but the lower parts always survived.  The temperature has reached zero, a funny designation in F degrees because that is 32 degrees below freezing.  Come on people, can't we please switch to C like the rest of the world?  At any rate this may kill some not so hardy plants, but more likely will be the death of plants, particularly newly planted ones, from desiccation.  Yes, plants can freeze, but more damage and plant death comes from the dry conditions of winter than from the cold.  So far our winter has been fairly mild with only one week of fairly cold temperatures so far.  Our winters are basically desert conditions at low temperatures; December through February are the driest months here in terms of precipitation, about 2-3 inches a month tops.  When the soil is frozen because of the lack of snow cover, even less water is available to plants.  So it would appear that the drought, relieved somewhat during the fall, is continuing and looking forward this will make for a dry spring.  Farmers will be happy about being able to get out onto their fields early, but this happiness will be short lived if the dry conditions continue.  So TPP doesn't like the current conditions at all, so the official worrying has begun.  It's a gardener thing.


The Cranky said...

We've gotten a bit more precipitation but still not enough so I'm stocking up on rain barrels.

The sky is falling, but there's no such thing as climate change.

Beth at PlantPostings said...

That deep freeze didn't help matters at all, did it? We're getting some snow in southern Wisconsin, but probably not enough to make up for the drought. I hope you get some precipitation soon. And I hope the plants make it through the winter--it amazes me every year how they survive our extremes.