On the Curious Behaviour of Trees

20 06 2010

Ubiquitous to this part of the world, aspen poplar are fascinating trees that are scorned and overlooked because they are so common. They spread quickly by suckering, and whole groves of trees can actually be just one single organism, connected underground. In the fall, because of this, entire stands of trees’ leaves will change to gold on the same day, and in turn the golden leaves will all rain down at once in a magical display. And on a hot June day, a forest of poplars will simultaneously release their fluffy seeds, covering the ground like snow.

The poplar fluff angel that made my ride.

Beautiful as this is, the poplar fluff is thicker than usual this year, and it’s a sign of something a little more nefarious under the surface. As the river valley has greened out, to see the amount of trees dead and dying from drought is shocking. All the trees, including the “weedy” poplars, are stressed, and this surplus of seeds is a last ditch effort for forest survival.

Kicking up the fluff.

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2 responses

28 06 2010
Sox

Interesting. We have had a surplus of fluff this year too, and we have been very wet. I wonder if while your trees are drying out, ours are drowning?

30 06 2010
evillerider

Hmmm, maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s because the weather’s been rather dreary here, too, and the trees just all went into nutzo fluff spewing mode after (finally!) a couple of sunny days. The fluff also stopped as dramatically as it started.
Are your trees struggling, too?

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