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MfD: Pine trees drying out in ČR

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Prague, Aug 2 (CTK) – Tens of thousands of pine trees are drying out in the Czech Republic because of a long-lasting drought that has hit the country for several years, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes today.

Pines, which commonly fare well in dry and sandy soil, have paradoxically become the first victims of the long drought.

“About one-fifth of pine trees might be damaged by drought,” Lubos Uradnicek, from Mendel University in Brno, told MfD.

Pine is the second most frequent coniferous tree in the country after spruce, MfD says.

Experts expect the number of pines with withered, rusty needles to increase.

At present, the worst afflicted pine forests are in the vicinity of Trebic, south Moravia, but dry pines appear in most areas where they are growing, Eva Jouklova, from the Lesy Czech Republic state forestry company, said.

The paper writes that thanks to their long roots, pine trees can draw water from the depth, and consequently, a common dry season does not harm them, unlike spruces, for instance. However, they can use this advantage only until the soil dries up in the depth, which happened in the Czech Republic in the past few years.

The ground water level is below the standard all over the country and it has never been so low since it started being monitored.

Extremely low ground water levels have been measured in east and south Bohemia and in south and central Moravia, climatologist Martin Mozny, from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, said.

This is why pine trees’ roots are dry and water from summer storms cannot help them since it can hardly permeate a few centimetres under the surface, MfD writes.

The country would need two or three “wet years” to increase the ground water level sufficiently, while the amount of autumn and winter precipitation is crucial, MfD writes.

Not only pine trees, but most of the vegetation might be damaged in some areas because of the drought with time, Jouklova told MfD.

Oaks, which draw water from the same depth as pine trees, are to be the next victim of the long-term drought, MfD adds.

All trees and other woody plants suffer from stress caused by the lack of water, Ivana Tomaskova, from the Czech University of Life Science in Prague, said, citing the example of spruce forests that are threatened mainly in north and central Moravia.

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