What Will a Warm Fall in Alberta Mean for Our Trees

By: albertaarb - October 21, 2015

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After last year’s “Snowtember,” where 20-35 cm of snow fell and toppled hundreds of trees, Alberta is currently forecasting a mild Fall, due to the effects of El Nino.

“We’ll likely see a roller coaster of temperatures for at least the beginnings of the fall season ... towards the latter half of fall the temperatures will be trending above normal,” according to Weather Network meteorologist Kelly Sonnenburg.

She believes that temperatures will remain above the seasonal average until at least the New Year, when temperatures will drop low again. For winter sports enthusiasts, you can expect to be waiting for a while before you can hit the slopes, with a higher than usual number of days expected to exceed 30 degrees C (86 F) in areas away from the coast well into early October.

Most outlets are focusing on the break in frigid winters or the impact on winter sports. Unfortunately, this could easily lead to drought conditions, prolonging the already destructive droughts and wild fires that have plagued Western Canada these past few months through the Fall and into winter.

Alberta Wildfires

As of September 9th this year, there have been an estimated 1690 wildfires in Alberta, well above the five-year average of 1322 fires per year, with a total of 490,594.32 hectares burned. These extreme conditions have forced Alberta fire officials to draft firefighters from nearby provinces and even from the States. Some of these fires were so big, they could even be seen from space.

There is also the risk of increased pine beetle activity in trees and forests weakened by drought. British Columbia has already lost more than 16 million of the 55 million hectares of forest, with Alberta next in line in their invasive spread across Canada.

According to Erica Samis, manager of forest health and adaptation with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, trees affected by drought are weaker, and easier for the beetles to destroy: “It’s a lot easier for the beetles that are attacking that tree to get in and also the defences, when the beetles are inside, are lower so the beetle has a much greater success in a tree that is stressed by drought.”

Trees and Dry Weather

Forests can handle dry stretches, up to a point. They can handle wildfires, up to a point. They can even handle invasive bugs, again, up to a point. However, they cannot handle all three at once. They are a lethal combination, destructive on their own but disastrous together.

Have more questions about tree care?

If you have more questions or are in need of tree care or removal services, we at Alberta Arborists can help you. We provide affordable solutions for your entire tree and shrub care needs. Our reputation is built on customer satisfaction & the quality of our workmanship. 

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation estimate of your job.

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