Mother Nature, Drought And Man Making Assault On Nebraska Trees

Nebraska Notebook

Drought and fire devastate Nebraska forests and cut into new plantings.

Published on: April 1, 2013

Trees also are falling victim to high grain prices, which is evident by the piles of dead trees one sees when traveling the state.

A continuing drought may begin affecting exiting hard wood trees this year, Adams warns.

Add to these challenges the inevitable entry into Nebraska of the emerald ash borer. It is creeping closer to the Nebraska border from Iowa and Missouri. Ash trees make up a pretty good share of rural trees in the state.

We’ve written extensively in Nebraska Farmer about drought’s impact on dryland crops and rangeland. The impact on trees is overlooked by many in this state.

That’s unfortunate considering our license plates once billed us as the “Tree Planter’s State” and that J. Sterling Morton is credited with starting the Arbor Day tree planting tradition more than a century ago.

Settlers came to this portion of the Great Plains to farm and found a rich grassland prairie mostly devoid of trees, except for river and creek valleys. Those early Nebraskans struggled but worked hard to plant trees where they could, creating a rich tree-planting history in Nebraska in the process.

Today, it’s our tree resources that are struggling mightily.