Some Iowans are noticing their hardwood trees have started to shed leaves. Randy Cook, a forester in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says he’s getting reports that oak and burr oak trees are stressed.”One factor that seems to be an over-riding factor this year is the tree has responded to those hot, July days with those high winds by shedding the leaves,” Cook says. Cook says there was no way for the tree on those hot, dry, windy days to supply enough moisture to the leaves, and so the trees are shedding the leaves to reduce that “moisture deficit.” Cook doesn’t think there’s a disease problem, just a problem with this year’s climate. Cook says the other disadvantage of having a dry, warm summer is it does “favor increased populations of insects and that’s another stress factor we see on all of our trees.” Cook suggests that you call the local I-S-U extension office if you have serious concerns about a tree on your property, and an expert can come out and take a look. In drought-striken areas of eastern Iowa, Cook says trees are under moisture stress, but you probably can’t see the real damage to the roots. The roots can’t supply enough moisture to the stem of the tree, and Cook says you will see some trees wilt. That doesn’t necessarily mean the tree is dead, according to Cook, it merely means the tree is in stress.
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