Heavy rain helps trees after dry summer, OSU professor says

Oregon

With the ongoing drought, an OSU researcher says this rain is needed

(KOIN File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – While the rain might be causing flooding, landslides and road closures across Oregon and Washington, an Oregon State University forestry expert said it’s a welcome arrival for vegetation in the region. 

Chris Still is a professor at the college of forestry at Oregon State University. He said after two years of severe drought, the rain is badly needed for trees and other plants in Northwest Oregon. 

He also said the snow last week was a good sign. 

The trouble for trees comes when the snow is very heavy, or most concerning, when there’s an ice storm. 

“Those are the ones you see where they will take out you know treetops and lots of branches fall and lots of trees die and those tend to be the more damaging events,” Still said. 

KOIN 6 News contacted Still to ask if vegetation in the region would be more susceptible to cold temperatures during the winter after the stress of the record-breaking temperatures during the heat dome and the ongoing drought. 

He said he suspects it will be more susceptible to damage during the winter, but scientists are still waiting to see. He said the heat dome and drought could have weakened trees and plants going into the winter. 

However, he said that there wasn’t an early cold snap in the fall and the fall wasn’t particularly warm, which gave most trees adequate time to undergo the process of cold hardening, where they prepare themselves for the winter weather. 

Overall, Still said people are still studying the effects of the heat dome and he’s hoping the state will receive a snowpack over the winter that will last well into spring, to help bring an end to the drought. 

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