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Indiana Trees Still Suffering From Summer Drought

Foresters say some tree species may never return the strength they had before the 2012 drought.

After the driest year in Indiana’s history, trees across the state continue to suffer.

Purdue University Urban Forestry Specialist Lindsey Purcell says it could be a year or two before the state’s trees recover from the damage, meaning a number of aspects of Hoosier life may take that much time to readjust, too.

“Things such as cooling, from shade, air quality, water quality, all of those things suffer as a result of that lack of that tree canopy,” he says. “That’s my biggest concern is the impact of loss of canopy on our quality of life. It’s going to affect us in a health manner as much as anything.”

Department of Natural Resources State Forester John Seifert says tulip poplars, Indiana’s state tree, were particularly damaged.

“I anticipate almost all these poplar trees that were significantly impacted to the point that they may never recapture the vigor they had before the drought event,” he says.

Seifert says foresters in the field are consulting with private landowners around the state to help aid recovery.

Purcell encourages residents to water and mulch to help combat the stress trees are experiencing and strongly warns against using fertilizer or pruning trees that are showing signs of damage.

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