I've been monitoring the ponds at Trinity River Audubon Center, and as I walked the margins of Great Blue Heron Pond, it occurred to me that although I was watching the nearby grasslands that I hadn't walked into our tiny remnant patch of woodlands (Longacre Woods) to see what impact the drought was having. Because I hadn't gone to investigate before, this was more a preliminary survey hike than an observation of changes.
The large old growth trees were doing fairly well within the forest itself -- the very hardy Virginia Junipers seemed unchanged, and the huge pecans (well over 100 years old) seemed fine. There weren't large numbers of dying leaves nor was there any immediate signs of stress on these old giants. The honey locust trees were holding up well, however this wasn't true of some of the other trees.
The air in the forest is cooler than the air over the grasslands by about ten degrees and the soil still holds some moisture. But as the rainless days continue, the fight for resources gets more intense. Dogwoods are drooping, as are the cedar elms -- both large and small trees. Even the invasive privet is starting to show some signs of drought stress and the bodark trees are losing most of their leaves.
The next step is to do a GPS survey and map off large areas where the relative heat score seems highest.