Mind Your Head!
In the Uk we're suffering the worst drought since the 1970s, and the dry weather is expected to continue until October. Parks and lawns up and down the country are more straw than grass, and now some trees and other plants are responding to the drought in a more surprising way: they are starting to lose their leaves.
This is clearly an emergency response to protect the plant from dehydration.
But in some parts there can be an even more extremem reaction from trees that are suffering They can lose whole branches which the tree will ditch to try and protect it from the lack of water.
This has happened a couple of times in the last few weeks to trees in my local park.
And its not just small branches that they decide to amputate but often very large ones. This is known as Sudden Branch Drop, and is a result of prolonged dry weather, higher than average temperatures and droughts.
Sudden branch drop has been known to happen along lines of weakness; but it is also possible in branches with no apparent flaws. Therefore, it is hard to predict and you wouldn't want to be enjoying a picnic beneath the tree when it happened. However the chances of you being anywhere near the tree when it happens are really tiny, both branch drops in my local park happened in the middle of the night and were cleared away by the park staff the next day. I'm sure if anyone had been hurt by a sudden branch drop the tabloids would be demanding all trees were cut down straight away!!
Hopefully the trees in my park will survive, and once the rain does eventually come, they will return to full health.
Hopefully the trees will survive, and once the rain does eventually come, they will return to full health.