Drought in France

Discussion in 'Maples' started by AlainK, May 22, 2011.

  1. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    In most parts of France, we've had three months almost with no rain, and an usually hot spring: it was 25° C yesterday which is more the kind of temperatures we usually have in July. There are measures of water restriction on half the territory so far, and when you look at the "lawn" in the second photo, you will have an idea of the problem.

    For those like me who have mainly potted trees, it means some cultivars are already showing Autumn colours. This A. Shirasawanum aureum for instance was left too long in a sunny spot. The leaves are not scorched, but though the colours are beautiful, I'm afraid it won't keep its leaves until the end of the season if it goes on like that.

    I've also had a 'Tsuma Gaki' for a few weeks (I simply love it, it's the most spectacular in my small collection when leafing out), and it's Autumn for this one too, but I'm not familiar with this cultivar, maybe it's normal? You can also see in the leaf in the top left the trace of a hail storm a couple of weeks ago (yes, it seems we're going to have them all this year ^^)

    The "green" ones don't seem to be affected though.
     

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  2. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes,a strange year here too.Usually I'm worried about frosts in spring but this year it's been the sun,a few maples have been caught out already.We managed to achieve 26degrees in April also,unheard of here and the sun's been shining virtually ever since(I've even got a tan already!)
    This year my 'Aureum' and 'Autumn Moon' look like they're gonna swap identiies again.'Autumn Moon' in the shade is lime green,and 'Aureum' like yours has lovely colours...(who needs autumn moon? ha ha)
    This is a photo of 'Aureum' last year...if you can get it back in the shade the redness should disappear...at least mine did anyway.....I rather like it though but we've gotta be careful.
     

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  3. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    I hope all of you in Northwest Europe only have coloration issues from the drought
    and high temperatures and NOTHING more serious. Good luck in a tough situation.
     
  4. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    In Southern France we always have Summer drought, one or two months, depending on the year. Thus, in order to have a garden to speak of, a comprehensive automatic watering system is mandatory. This year the drought is coming much sooner than usual, so I have had to turn on the watering system on sooner than normal.

    Gomero
     
  5. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks Katsura,I guess this is nothing compared to Cali heat.....Drought every year?...before getting into gardening I'd have been jealous ha ha.My heart goes out to all you maple lovers in hot climates.We all set up and prepare ourselves best we can for our own situations and the weather we can expect,but sometimes ol' ma nature catches us out.So frustrating but must be worth it or we wouldn't be here:)
     
  6. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    We have it here too. Local weather station reported 4mm of rain in March and 3mm in April. We've had more in May, about 20mm, but not enough to make up the difference. Today my mother told me the flower buds are falling off her tulip tree.
     
  7. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    It is certainly historically catastrophic in Normandie. It did rain once so far this May, we got about 8mm, not enough to do much of anything. Like Maf we basically got nothing in March and April. The funny thing is that along with the very hot days the nights have been quite cold. There have been some hard frosts but luckily not for us, we are protected by the Foret d'Ecouves. I'm also seeing fall colors beginning even on some well established plants, and am struggling to water this year's plantings -- no question of watering everything, we're too spread out for automatic watering! LOL.

    We went canoeing on the Orne river Sunday afternoon, it was 20cm below the usual level for this time of year. We did a lot of carrying!

    The lawn here is going brown... I mowed this WE as we have guests coming, but really just evened it out, there was hardly anything to collect. Not normal weather for Normandie although we have had a series of very hot and dry Aprils. Alain, how come you can't keep the stuff in pots watered?

    A friend told me about another dead Chestnut tree today, over the last few years very many have died, we have lost two.

    -E
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Probably chestnut blight Cryphonectria parasitica. Chestnut is very drought tolerant, so the drought won't be the cause.
     
  9. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I agree with you Michael, chestnuts are drought tolerant.
    In this part of France climate change is indeed affecting forests. The climate around here supported a native forest composed mainly of Quercus robur and Carpinus betulus, there were enough summer rains, in the form of thunderstorms, to allow them thriving. Maybe due to climate change, there have been of late many years with insufficient summer rains: no thunderstorms. As a result the hornbeams are slowly, but surely, dying and also disappearing since the seedlings cannot thrive. The oaks seem, so far, much less affected. Climate models predict that our region will become more Mediterranean and, taking into account what is happening to the forest, facts seem to corroborate that.

    Gomero
     
  10. bigjohn33

    bigjohn33 Active Member

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    i found japanese maple really drought tolerant
    May be it is because i live next to the forest and a really small river that brings humidity, but my maples seems to be alright
    The hot weather since march has avoided dieback on young twigs
    even those in full sun seem ok
    I hope it will continue
    i water only once a week and o got a sandy acid poor soil
    I use ferns to mulch
    sb
     
  11. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I'm certainly not an expert on chestnuts, but the blight seems to leave quite visible signs and even arborists speak of drought in this context. We have also seen a pretty radical change over the last 10 years or so, although of course changes are not linear. I think it is difficult to speak of climate change in the context of only a few years, historically climate change is visible only as a trend over a much longer time scale.

    Samuel, do you grind up the fern at all?

    -E
     
  12. bigjohn33

    bigjohn33 Active Member

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    emery
    i just cut the big "leaves" and cover the ground with it
    when they are burnt and dried i ill do it again
    it is also a good smooth slow release fertilizer !
    I have thousands of ferns around and in the garden
    the house is surrounder by a forest of oaks and pines
     
  13. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Emery,

    You may be right in that drought does not help at all. My remark on chestnuts being drought resistant is that you can find them in acid soils in Mediterranean zones including North Africa. For instance they are abundant in Corsica where they can go for 2 months without rain.

    Climate change is a tricky issue and I am no expert on the matter. However it is pretty objective to say that the climate has gradually changed in the last 20 years in my area, whether or not it will continue to do so in the future is a matter best left to experts.

    Gomero
     
  14. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Are ferns a particularly good source of anything in particular? Got lots I can cut down and put on the compost heap :)
    We had a warm dry spell in April but have since had abundant rain all of May. Now we are having storms and today lots of storm damage. Over in England they are apparently shouting out for water.
    Ah well ... gardening was never meant to be effortless .....
     
  15. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    ???i live in central Italy usda zone9b, many rain and low temperature!!this may is incredible rained every afternoon...max temperature 27°just today 30°
    this is unusually ,i'm start intensive watering around 30 april,this year not again start
     
  16. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Re: Drought in France (and parts of UK)

    Northamptonshire has been officially declared a drought region by the authorities along with (parts of) many neighbouring counties. BBC drought map.

    As mentioned earlier, we had basically no rain in March and April and what rain we have seen in May and June (so far) has been more, but nowhere near enough to make up the difference. (We had some heavy rains at the end of February, if it had not been for those the groundwater situation would have been much worse than it is.) There is rain forecast for tomorrow, here's hoping.

    How are you guys in France doing?
     
  17. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Over here in Northern Ireland we have been getting all of the rain that Maf has been missing :)
     
  18. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    According to the news bulletin on French TV two days ago, the situation is pretty bad in S-E England but Scotland is particularly wet this year.

    Here in France, we've had some rain and they forecast more showers for the days to come, but like in England, not enough so far.

    You can see big sand beds in the Loire, just like at the end of a very hot summer...
     
  19. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    The current situation in the Orne department can be summed up in one 4 letter word: dire. There has been some rain around but we've gotten almost none, there was another 5-6 mm last week which let me collect some, other than that it stays overcast and you can see rain clouds and thunderstorms but it all falls elsewhere apparently.

    One thing that is particularly difficult here is since there is normally loads of rain, when the soil really dries out it becomes very dusty, or turns to hard pan when there is some clay in it. Under these circumstances it is very slow to get wet down again, and the small rain doesn't really penetrate much.

    Fall colors are advancing and virtually all trees -- even centennial oaks etc -- show leaf burn presumably from transpiration.

    Thank goodness palmatums are pretty drought tolerant... It makes it a year to concentrate on seedlings: I potted up 50 A. davidiis yesterday.

    -E

    P.S. I had forgotten to add the pictures, the rainfall and soil humidity are from beginning of May so it's probably even worse (if possible) by now...
     

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    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  20. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    An update on the drought. We have had some rain, although not large quantities it is enough to wet the soil for a few inches. It's actually been pretty good rain, in showers followed by sinking in periods rather than immense downpours. The weather has turned quite cold with a fair amount of wind, which of course dries things out. Lots of fall color around and burnt leaves, sadly, the garden looks quite the mess.

    This interesting pdf compares soil conditions in 1976, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2011, all drought years. It's in French but the pictures tell the whole story.

    http://climat.meteofrance.com/content/2011/5/25559-48.pdf

    -E
     
  21. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    We've had similar rains too in our part of England. Not sure how much it has helped the soil moisture but at least the rain water collection tanks are full, so the container maples will do ok!

    Farmers are predicting the worst wheat harvest for 30 years due to the drought.
     
  22. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Emery and my friends i'm afraid for your maples, garden and for France and UK climate;i remeber some years ago four months without rain in Italy;and i know the disaster effect in garden and colture
     
  23. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Interesting link Emery, I had not seen it. Here in my area, still no rain. We have missed all the storms of May and June that have affected the Southwest of France. Plants are still alive thanks to watering. Forecast no good.

    Gomero
     
  24. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I can't imagine 4 months without rain in Italy
    I have only been there twice and it poured every day :)
    Over here at the mid summer solstice it is still bitterly cold and raining every day. I cant get any real work done in the garden because of the weather
    Funny old world .........
     

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