20-month-old drought in half of the state
Since January of 2002, many areas in the state are short 8 or more inches of rainfall. That's like taking the trees growing in Itasca County (down by 12 inches of rainfall) and moving them west to Jamestown, North Dakota. A few areas are down by as much as 16 inches. "Westward ho" for the trees in Cook County to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Serious and long-term impacts to the affected forests are already being observed where additional stresses occur, such as two-lined chestnut borer in FTC-defoliated oaks in Itasca County and jack pine mortality in a single year due to jack pine budworm defoliation in Beltrami County. The next article will give you an in-depth look at drought and its impacts on tree health.