Why trees put on their autumn dress in the middle of summer

If we officially have to wait another month before the start of autumn, it seems that the mid-season has already knocked on the door of our British neighbors, and this, in the middle of August. On the other side of the Channel, many trees have indeed begun to turn brown and lose their foliage. And as the BBC points outthis phenomenon does not bode well.

According to the scientists, the stress caused by the intense heat waves as well as the various episodes of drought that hit the European continent this summer caused the trees to return to “survival mode”.

“It feels like we are already in autumn, but the days are too long for natural processes [de cette saison] begin”points out Leigh Hunt, horticultural adviser at the Royal Horticultural Society. “Physiologically, plants do not react to autumn conditions, which is why we call this phenomenon “false autumn”

The specialist also specifies in the columns of the British media that he has never observed a situation as critical as this year. “in terms of damage to trees in the countryside.” And while older plants can withstand periods of intense drought thanks to their vast network of roots, younger specimens could face irreparable consequences, and therefore die.

“Catastrophic” consequences on wildlife

“Trees that have lost only a few leaves with slight yellowing should recover with sufficient rainfall”, explains Leigh Hunt. On the other hand, others have already reached a “critical point” in which a plant cannot replenish the amount of water it has lost through its leaves, and so it dries out completely.

But that’s not all. Another consequence of extreme temperatures on British flora is that berries appear much earlier. “The record heat we just experienced contributed to the onset of a number of early fall events”underlines Fritha West, of the Woodland Trust, an organization dedicated to the conservation of nature in the United Kingdom. “We have received some reports of the earliest ripening berries ever recorded in southern England.” Results? The association states that too premature development of fruits or nuts “can prove catastrophic for the wildlife that feeds on it.”

This phenomenon of “false autumn” was not only observed among our British friends. In France, at the end of July, La Dépêche reported on a similar situation in the Lot following the various episodes of heat waves.

Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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