Saturday, April 25, 2015

There is Little Life Left in this Old Cottonwood Tree

Cottonwood tree at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
This cottonwood tree has been important to me since I first started walking in Larry Moore Park years ago - at least ten years ago. I have seen teens climb this tree, and, yes, I even saw a small dog climb this tree. But I'm afraid that one day it will share the fate of trees closer to the river and completely die. As you can see, only one section of the tree is still alive -- the bright green section in the center of this photo.

Cottonwood tree at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
In this photo o the right, you can see the one branch that still seems to be healthy and putting forth new shoots. I took this shot from a different position so I could get a closer look at it.

Unfortunately this tree is the victim of drought and mistletoe. The cottonwood trees right next to the river are still fairly healthy because their roots can reach deep and get water. But the mistletoe appears to be sucking all the nutrients from this poor tree. It lost a large branch a couple of years ago in a storm.

Mistletoe on Cottonwood tree at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
This last shot gives you a closer look at the deadly mistletoe at the end of one branch. It's the largest clump, but you can see in the top photo that it's not the only clump. Except for this branch with new leaves, all the rest of the green on the tree is the mistletoe that's killing it.

We have mistletoe on most large trees in our county, and many are also adorned in Spanish moss. Do you have either of these growing on trees where you live?