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2009-06-04 digital edition

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2009-06-04 / Front Page

Drought Stresses Trees and Crops

About five miles north of Giddings on Hwy 77, the evidence of the drought becomes all too obvious. Trees dying in large numbers can be seen on both sides of the highway. About five miles north of Giddings on Hwy 77, the evidence of the drought becomes all too obvious. Trees dying in large numbers can be seen on both sides of the highway. Traveling down to the south end of the county this week, you'll see a tremendous number of trees dying. John Schoenemann with the USDA Farm Service Agency in Giddings said, "It's all due to the drought. According to Camp Mabry's stats, Lee and surrounding counties have shown to be the driest in an 18-month period since they began keeping records. It's even worse when you go south, to Serbin and then out to San Marcos and Seguin."

Schoenemann said the trees that are suffering the most are those with shallow roots. He said most of the trees you see dying in the Giddings area are cedar, which have a shallow root system and are very dependent on water.

He went on to say, "What's worse is if we don't see some significant rainfall within the next five to ten days, those farmers whose crops are primarily corn and grain could see a repeat of the 2008 crop, which suffered greatly due to the drought. The good news is cattle prices remain high to steady. That's real unusual in a drought."

According to the Camp Mabry numbers, the Central Texas area hit most by the drought includes a hundred-mile circle with Austin in the center of the map.

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