Dead, dry brown leaves are telling a different story


"It looks like it's going to be short term, so no need to panic quite yet."

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Leaves typically change color as the seasons change too. However this year, the leaves are telling another story.

“Your leaves really aren’t changing, they’re basically going from green to brown and they’re laying on the ground, that’s drought stress,” said UME Extension Educator Jeff Semler.

Washington County has been unusually dry since June. Corn is currently done being harvested and soybeans are almost in season, but the drought goes beyond the farmer’s fields.

“When it comes to our beef and dairy cattle, the pastures are drying up so we’re going to have to start feeding hay earlier than we normally would to those animals which is going to increase the cost of production,” said Semler.

The United States Drought Monitor registers Western Maryland as abnormally dry. Across the state, different counties have experienced rain spurts over the last couple of months but not enough to ease some concerns. The monitor records the drought expanding across the North East from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Southern Pennsylvania.

“Right now, we’re at .23 inches of rain according to Keefer’s Weather Station so it’s not record breaking but let’s face it, we’re splitting hairs at this point, it’s been incredibly dry,” said Meteorologist Adam Rutt.

Experts are considering the area to be in a short term drought, and are hoping for the fall to bring more rain.

“Droughts just make things tougher in dry weather. And again, we are not in panic mode yet, we’re hoping to get some rain here in the fall,” said Semler.

Locals say they hope the short term drought will hopefully end in October.

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