Green ash trees, leafless in July

This year we saw trees leafing out very late – either they lost their first leaves in late heavy April freezes and had to grow another set, or they delayed leafing out until the cold weather was past. I got used to seeing large, mature trees with no leaves in late May into early June. Then one day in early July, as I was running in Monument Valley Park, I suddenly noticed a couple of large green ash trees that still didn’t have leaves! I’d gotten so used to seeing them without leaves, that it just didn’t really hit me that there was something unusual until that day.

Once my attention was focused on trees without leaves, I noticed a handful of others in the park as well as many throughout the downtown Colorado Springs area. I had read that trees can store up to three years worth of energy, so I wondered if any of these trees would try leafing out next year. A quick email conversation with a favorite arborist dashed my hopes. Those trees were goners – they’d used all the stored energy they’d had. She said that many mature trees have been having a hard time surviving with our recent drought, and those growing with little or no irrigation (the ones in the park get none) were suffering even more. She noted that green ashes were being particularly hard hit.

Earlier this year, I wrote another post on the trees we’re losing to drought in the park. Sadly, it looks like we’re going to be losing even more.