I needed to do a little shopping so I went out to one of our local plazas recently. I was shocked at what I saw. This is a dead maple–a relatively young one.
Nearby was this strip with the dead river birches–admittedly a tree that needs a decent amount of water to thrive, but we have not had a drought here in several years.
Across the road from this plaza was WestFarms Mall. They had just done a significant amount of sprucing up of that shopping mecca, including all new signs. Behind one of the signs was a row of 7 or 9 pear trees. They were all dead. (No need to write to tell me that this is no great loss and pear trees are weak limbed and possibly invasive–I know all this. They are still, however, trees. And the death of any tree is never a good thing. The death of that many of them together is a bad thing because now all we have are masses of asphalt with nothing to offset it)
In the plaza where I was, just about every tree was dead. I don’t believe it was salt damage because the shrubs too should have been dead.
And it wasn’t just young trees. There were some much older trees as well, dating back, I believe, to the time from when this land was farm land. They too were dead.
I cannot believe our severe winter did that. It was cold, but it wasn’t that cold. Minus 9 is statistically in the same growing zone–to a plant–as the minus 4 we had two years ago. And we haven’t been in true drought for a few years. We’ve had periods of dryness–but actual drought–no.
My only explanation for all of this is that the extreme fluctuations of the weather–I’m calling it drought & deluge–probably have put our plants under so much stress that they literally cannot cope. It’s only a theory, but I know of nothing else to explain what I’m seeing.