15nov~ Leaf  drops and droppings

That’s why they call it fall, I’d guess. This is the morning after our first frost (Nov. 3) and as is often the case, the still night air that permitted the frost, let the leaves drop pretty much straight down.  This is the drop zone of a Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis) a congeneric of Pecans (Carya illinoinensis—which I apparently have been misspelling for the last 50 years or so—leaving out the middle “n”.)  Unfortunately, the Bitternut is something of a black sheep in the taste department.    I don’t find a lot of use for a wide-angle view, but sometimes it allows a novel perspective.

We don’t often see such an organized drop.  This one is noticeable only because it spread itself out on graveled areas and a trampled area of lawn. The other hundreds of Bitternut trees we have around must have had the same drop, but we can’t see it because their leaves disappeared into brush or tall grass.

Those walnut drippings include a growth inhibitor – juglone – that can inhibit plant respiration, and reduce the ability to take water and nutrients from the soil.  The symptoms include stunting, yellowing, wilting, and death.  Only some species are affected, so that our Walnut rich floodplain is a select club, mostly tolerant species. We’ve lots of Buckbrush, Virginia Creeper, and Grapes, and Gooseberry…I wonder what we don’t have?   Where to find a flood plain without Walnuts….

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