The Last Days of Green

DSC 9965

Last November I mused whether the Sycamore trees would, over the years, take over the quarry in DePauw Nature Park. My recent visit made me skeptical.

DSC 9986

There are still lots of little sproutlings, but what I thought looks like early fall coloring in the top picture and below,

DSC 0006

turns out to be something else up close.

DSC 9992

At least one half of the younger trees are affected by leaf loss and dead branches, and the brown color look rather unhealthy.

DSC 9990

It might be that these trees are affected by Anthracnose, or that just the generally problematic ground cover of the quarry causes malnutrition, as Bryan from DePauw University suggested. We will have to wait.

DSC 9986

The Unruly

One of the fascinating aspects of the DePauw Nature Park is that one can observe who takes possession of this devastated landscape.
A contender (my favorite) is the Sycamore tree.

DSC 7742

Even while still little, they make gigantic leaves.

DSC 7703

A little older, they begin to show their unruly temperament. This is not a pretty tree for an English Garden. But they show character.

DSC 7617

When mature, they become imposing. Their distinctively peeling bark makes me think of ghosts.

DSC 7658

Right now, they stand mostly isolated, or against the backdrop of the quarry walls.

DSC 7713

But hundreds of little ones are growing, hidden between the shrubs. Let them have this place. They will cause no harm.

DSC 7777