Storm Aftermath

by Carl Strang

Yesterday morning a very strong storm roared across northern Illinois. It chased me to my office at Mayslake Forest Preserve, and I had barely got in the door when the view suddenly was obscured by a wall of horizontal rain. Winds reportedly reached 80mph. This storm was catastrophic for several trees on the preserve. One of the two venerable weeping willows in the low southeast corner of the mansion grounds lost a significant part of its top.

The willow is very old for its species, probably at least 80, and was unable to resist the wind.

Elsewhere on the grounds, one of the white firs lost its top.

A number of this western North American species are planted around the grounds.

White fir has remarkable, resinous oval cones.

They have beautiful oval shapes.

Free-growing wild trees were not exempt. One of the largest shagbark hickories in the north savanna also lost its top.

There were no leaf-bearing branches left. The storm probably killed this tree.

Changes in nature are not always gradual.

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