Continuing my series of “snow patterns”, how fresh snowfall sticking to vegetation helps to show off their form in ways hard to appreciate otherwise.
Vegetation not only captures snow temporarily with their leaves and branches, but when it melts it drips onto the soil above their roots. A kind of collection system.
Dead vegetation slowly decays into the soil, enriching it and increasing its moisture holding capacity.
Gambel Oak, a short, tough tree, is excellent wildlife cover, and its acorns are much sought after in the fall by many species.
The deep, extensive root systems of Gambel Oak remain alive even after intense wildfire, holding the soil in place while they quickly resprout from those roots.
A nice place to see Gambel Oak at Mesa Verde is the campground area at Morefield Village.
There you can enjoy relatively tall, thick clumps of Oak that survived the intense fires of 15-20 years ago.
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