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The treeblog trees
Posted on August 17, 2010 by Ash
Downy birch No. 16.
This post continues from Sunday’s Part 1, which featured the other eight seedlings.
Downy birch No. 21.
Downy birch No. 22.
Downy birch No. 23. In the last Set C downy birch update (Day 426 – 11th May), I was in some doubt as to whether No. 23 was actually alive. In an even earlier update (Day 389 – 4th April), I really did think it had died (along with No. 16). Evidently that was not the case!
Downy birch No. 25: a near-death experience has turned it into treeblog’s only forked birch seedling.
Downy birch No. 27.
Downy birch No. 28: the shortest of the cohort at approx. 2 cm. A few dead leaves suggest the poor chap has had a brush with death.
Downy birch No. 30.
Posted on August 15, 2010 by Ash
Downy birch No. 1 – the tallest of the birches.
It’s been three months since the last treeblog update on the Set C downy birches. They’ve made decent progress since then. See them as they are today (522 days after I planted them as seeds) in this update and see them as they were 96 days ago in the last update on Day 426. Since then downy birch No. 12 has died. That leaves us with sixteen seedlings - Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28 and 30 – the tallest (No. 1) and shortest (No. 28) of which are about 12 cm and 2 cm tall respectively.
Downy birch No. 2 – there was a caterpillar on the stem today, which I relocated onto a mature silver birch. The leading shoot has recently been eaten, probably by the caterpillar!
Downy birch No. 4.
Downy birch No. 5.
Some of the seedlings have tiny yellow spots on their leaves, like No. 10 below. I think these are birch rust (Melampsoridium betulinum), a fungus that causes premature defoliation. The fungi produces spores in the spring from last year’s infected leaves that over-wintered in the leaf litter; these spores infect larch needles, and later in the year the larch fungi produce different spores that infect birch leaves. According to Diagnosis of Ill-health in Trees by Strouts & Winter, “This alternation of the fungus between two unrelated host plants is the classic ‘text-book’, full life cycle of a rust fungus.”
Downy birch No. 10.
Downy birch No. 13.
Downy birch No. 14.
Downy birch No. 15.
That was the first eight seedlings; for the other eight you’ll have to see Part 2!
Posted on June 22, 2010 by Ash
Grey alder No. 1 – by far the best of the alders these days. Diameter of main stem at base (øα) = 9 cm. Diameter at breast height (øβ) = 4 cm.
Ye be warned: herein there be bad news... I went on a mission to check up on the grey alders (Alnus incana) on Sunday (Set A, Day 1180). It was a pretty warm day but it wasn’t a patch on yesterday and today (27 °C in Sheffield this afternoon!).
Here’s the resulting (neat and tiny) wound at the top of No. 1’s main stem. I removed the left stem at the fork (only about 20 cm long), so the right stem can continue as the main stem, keeping the tree a single-stemmer. I think that’s the first instance of a treeblog tree being pruned!
Grey alder No. 2 – it was the shortest of the alders when I planted them in the wild, being about as tall as I am. It’s still the same height, and it doesn’t really have a whole lot of leaves, but at least the sheep haven’t inflicted any new damage. As with No. 1, No. 2’s lower branches are damaged and leafless, but most of this damage was inflicted in the first couple of weeks after planting. Unfortunately, the tip of its leader has died, but No. 2 has previously had to put up with having its leader nibbled off. øα = 9 cm. øβ = 2 cm.
Grey alder No. 3 – currently the second-tallest of the four, but looking distinctly scraggly. øα = 9.5 cm. øβ = 4 cm. Like Nos. 2 and 4, it is having to compete with quite a bit of bracken (Pteridium aquilinum). It’s also taken quite a mauling from the marauding sheeps:
Here’s a selection of some of the damage inflicted to No. 3’s stem by our ovine friends. The end photos show bark-stripping damage to the lower stem, while the centre photo shows a wound on the upper stem where a branch has been ripped off.
This sorry specimen is grey alder No. 4. Not so very long ago this was miles ahead of its fellow alders and treeblog’s flagship tree. Now it’s just a green stick, stripped of its leaves and dignity by a band of woolly bastards. What a tragedy to befall such a promising young sapling! Its leader is dead too. I have serious doubts that No. 4 will be able to survive in this state for much longer. øα = 9 cm. øβ = 2 cm.
Here’s the very top of No. 4, showing the dead leader on the right and two small and unhealthy leaves (arrowed).
The photo on the left shows bark-stripping damage, along with a few wisps of black wool (evidence). The centre photo shows one of the handful of tiny leaves yet remaining on the tree; as soon as these appear, the sheep must be eating them away. The photo on the right shows a horrible slash on the main stem near its base – could a sheep have done this too?
And there you have it: grey alder No. 4 is totally screwed. Nos. 2 and 3 aren’t doing as well as I hoped. No. 1 is doing fine, but the sheep could strike at any time. Bloody nuisances. I went out of my way to plant these four trees in places where they wouldn’t be touched by the hand of man, but ironically they’re suffering instead at the teeth of sheep. What makes it more frustrating is that Nos. 2 and 3 are in a supposedly sheep-proof enclosure, but I saw three sheep in there! Three sheep that seem to prefer the taste of alder over the abundant and plentiful supply of rowan and birch that’s on offer.
Posted on June 15, 2010 by Ash
Set A: the Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris)
Scots pine Alpha on Saturday (Day 1172). Look how the next generation of needles have begun to spring out from the new candles!
Here it is again ten days earlier, on Day 1162 (June 2nd); notice how the needles haven’t yet started growing in earnest.
Here’s Scots pine Gamma on Day 1162…
…and here it is ten days later, on Saturday. What a difference! You can check out both pines (and the PSAUS) as they were on Day 1149 in the last Scots pine update.
It’s the cut- or fern-leaved beech on Day 235 (May 23rd). But is it a cut-leaved beech? Its mother certainly is, but look at its leaves…
…they just look like normal European beech leaves (photo taken on Day 245 - June 2nd). Will future leaves be cut-leaved? Here’s the is it / isn’t it situation as I currently read it:
The cut-leaved (?) beech on Saturday (Day 255). I think from now on it’ll have to be called the Alpha beech instead.
This little chap is the Set D(b) European beech – definitely just a bog-standard European beech, albeit the miracle offspring of a magnificent mature tree. I first noticed this seedling, the Beta beech, on the 18th of May (Day 230). Here it is rising above the soil two and three days later.
A few days later (the 26th and 30th of May) and this tiny beech was standing erect.
By the 2nd of June (Day 245) its cotyledons had opened…
…and by Saturday (Day 255) its first pair of proper leaves were forming. Bravo, Beta beech, bravo. The last Set D(b) update has photos of Alpha beech from Days 213 to 228 and the first photos of Beta beech along with the story of the ‘miracle’.
The PSAUS on Saturday.
Photos from May 30th and June 2nd taken by my father.
This month’s short but sweet Festival of the Trees, hosted by Casey of Wandering Owl Outside, has been up for a fortnight. Go read!
Posted on May 28, 2010 by Ash
(Photos taken on Thursday the 20th of May – Set A, Day 1149). Carrying on from where the first part of this update left off…
Cider gum No. 8: while the bud of its leading shoot has been killed by the frosts, more than half of the terminal buds on its branches are doing fine.
No. 8’s damaged leader, surrounded by new shoots.
Cider gum No. 9: must be particularly resilient to frost damage, as the terminal buds on all its upper branches are intact.
A healthy leader.
Cider gum No. 10: while it looks healthy from a distance, up close you can see that all terminal buds along with the leading shoot are dead, and – disturbingly - there is no new growth noticeable. Uh-oh.
No. 10’s dead leader. Notice the lack of replacement shoots.
Cider gum No. 11: I thought this one was stone dead in the last cider gum update, but I was wrong. Like No. 6, No. 11’s roots survived and two new shoots have now sprouted from the base of the stem. The rest of the tree is dead, however.
Shoots! From the roots!
Cider gum No. 12: while the terminal buds on the lower branches are dead, those on the upper ones are alive...
…as is the leader.
Cider gum No. 13: most of the terminal buds are dead, but those on the upper branches are OK.
No. 13’s leader is fine too.
Cider gum No. 14: a Class I gum. Again, most of the terminal buds are dead, apart from some on the upper branches. The leading shoot is alive and well.
No. 14’s leading shoot.
No. 14 also developed flower buds last July, but to date they’ve yet to bloom. I’m doubt they ever will.
And finally, another death: cider gum No. 15 is no more, destroyed by the harshest winter for many a year. Let us remember the life and times of one of treeblog’s smallest cider gums and pay our respects to the departed:
I’m off up to Scotland this afternoon to do the Skye Trail. No posts for a week!
Posted on May 26, 2010 by Ash
(Photos taken last Thursday – Set A, Day 1149). Winter 2009/2010 was the harshest for years. It wreaked havoc upon the poor, poor cider gums…
Cider gum No. 1: it’s dead, a victim of the winter of doom. This is quite sad for treeblog - the first Set A death in three years. But instead of mourning, let us celebrate the life of No. 1 by looking back over its photo-timeline:
Cider gum No. 2: one of the tallest. A true Class I gum. Frost damage: the terminal buds at the tips of all its branches are missing, except for the leader at the top of the tree, which is happily intact!
No.2’s healthy leading shoot – most of the other cider gums weren’t this lucky.
Cider gum No. 3: one of the three Class III gums (the runts). Last Thursday I was 99 percent sure that No. 3 was a goner, but a green stem and that little bit of green remaining in those two leaves gave me hope.
Yesterday my optimism was rewarded! A bud! Cider gum No. 3 is alive! I tell you, it may only be tiny, but this is one stubborn tree. Last year it refused to give up the ghost after the winter of 2008/2009 killed most of it. Don’t write it off just yet! (Photo taken this evening.)
Cider gum No. 4: although appearing largely unscathed by the frosts, some of the terminal buds are missing, along with the leading shoot.
As you can see, while the leader has died, a new shoot is ready to take up the mantle and assume leadership.
Cider gum No. 5: suffered heavy frost damage. Most of its leaves are dead along with all its terminal buds, including the leader. In the last cider gum update, at the beginning of April, I wrote that I thought it could be dead.
Thankfully I was proven wrong; there is plenty of regrowth at the top of No. 5.
Cider gum No. 6: another of the Class III gums, and another of those that I thought had kicked the bucket. Virtually all of the tree is dead…
…apart from the root system, which means No. 6 has cling to life and squeezed out a couple of tiny buds right at the base of its stem. It’s alive!
Cider gum No. 7: the tallest of all the cider gums, but unfortunately struck hard by frost damage. All terminal buds including the leader are dead, but there are signs of new growth at the very top:
I spotted this impressive branch scar low down on the main stem of No. 7. Is it big enough to call a trunk yet? I guess not, but it looks a lot like one in miniature here.
Posted on May 24, 2010 by Ash
Scots pine Alpha on Thursday evening (Set A, Day 1149). Those candles are getting pretty long now…
…but back on the 24th of April they weren’t really candles at all; more glorified buds.
A week later, on the 1st of May, and good progress had already been made.
Here they are again on the 11th of May…
…and this is an almost up-to-date view from Thursday (the 20th of May). Not be long until the needles appear now!
In addition to the candles on top of Scots pine Alpha, each of its three little branches has a candle on the tip (seen here on Tuesday).
With less candles than its stablemate, here’s Scots pine Gamma. It currently shares its pot with an ash and a sycamore seedling.
Not a Scots pine, but here’s the PSAUS a.k.a. the post-Set A unknown seedling a.k.a. a goat willow.
And last but not least, here’s the ash that germinated last year in grey alder No. 3’s pot: a real tree in minature.
Speaking of the grey alders, I wonder how they’re getting on. I think we’re due another visit soon, you & I. But first things first: the next two updates will deal with the cider gums. Yes, there have been deaths. But there has also been reincarnation!
Posted on May 18, 2010 by Ash
1. The cut-leaved beech (Days 213 to 228)
The terrific Set D(b) cut-leaved beech on the 1st of May (Day 213)…
…the 11th of May (Day 223)…
…and the 16th of May (Day 228) – Sunday. Here come the first pair of true leaves!
I thought there was no hope, but I replanted it anyway.
(You can see where this is going, right?) Well, my optimism was rewarded! I checked on the treeblog stable this very afternoon (Set D(b) Day 230) and look what miracle awaited me:
Yes!!! The only germinating beechnut collected from the beech at Wigtwizzle has survived!
Oaken Clough rowans Nos. 1 to 4 (O1 to 04).
Rowans O5 to O8.
Rowan O9 and Whitwell Moor rowans Nos. 1 to 3 (W1 to W3).
Rowans W4 to W7.
Photos taken on Sunday (Set D(r) Day 36).
Posted on May 16, 2010 by Ash
Whitwell Moor rowan No. 1 (W1).
Well, it’s not the most fun job in the world, but someone’s got to do it. It’s a labour of love. It’s another treeblog Set C(r) update (photos taken this afternoon – Day 369).
Rowans W2 to W5.
Rowans W6 to W9.
Rowans W10 to W13.
Rowans W14 to W17.
Rowans W18 to W20 and Upper Midhope rowan No. 2 (U2).
Rowans U3 to U6.
Rowans U7 to U10.
Rowans U11 to U14.
Rowans U15 to U18.
Rowans U19 and U20 and Whitwell Moor tricot rowans Nos. 1 and 2 (WT1 and WT2).
Rowans WT3 to WT6. The sixth tricot is still in the seed tray with all its feral brethren, awaiting transplantation.
Posted on May 11, 2010 by Ash
Downy birch No. 1 – one of the very best in class. Notice that the leaves have many lobes.
It’s been over five weeks since the last Set C downy birch update. The last we saw of our little birchy friends, they were mere matchsticks. But throw a little spring into the mix and we’ve got leaves! A wee bit of bad news and a couple of bits of good news: No. 26, alive in the last update, is now dead; No. 16, “dead” in the last update, is now alive; No. 23, “dead” in the last update, might actually be alive… or it might really be dead.
No. 2 – another one of the finest performers.
Nos. 4 and 10 – both decent little seedlings.
No. 14 – another birch in the cream of the crop.
Nos. 12, 13, 15 and 21 – all sort of common or garden, nothing special, middle-of-the-road seedlings. Nothing wrong with that, right?
Nos. 22, 23, 27 and 28 – again, all Johnny Averages.
No. 30 – one of the better-off middling birches – but notice how few lobes its leaves have compared with the better performers’, like No. 1’s.
The underperformers: Nos. 5, 16 (back from the dead!), 23 (back from the dead?), and 25. New growth (or in the case of No. 23, possible new growth) has been circled.
Posted on April 27, 2010 by Ash
The Set D(b) cut-leaved beech has appeared above ground! Here it is on Saturday (Day 206), the first time I’d seen it poking up through the soil. A couple of Saturdays previously I was searching through the Set D beech seed trays when I noticed that this wee tree had sprouted a long root – that was Day 193.
Beech seedlings don’t hang around. Here it is a day later, on Sunday….
…here it is yesterday…
…and here it is this evening. Its cotyledons should open up over the next few days. This is the first beech I’ve ever managed to grow!
As well as discovering this young beech, Saturday also saw me off on a long walk to check up on the recently released Set A grey alders – 1123 days after I planted them as seeds. The good news is that they are all still in situ and doing well. The bad news is that three of them have been munched on by sheep! (I planted Nos. 2 and 3 out in the wild on the 2nd of April (Day 1101); Nos. 1 and 4 were planted out on the 14th of April (Day 1113) – see this post for the details.)
Grey alder No. 1 – this one lives next door to No. 4. Some of the lower branches have been cut back by browsing sheep – I know who the culprits are because they left some wool behind. Nevermind. Those lower branches wouldn’t be kept by the tree for long anyway, and I’d already given thought to pruning them off.
Grey alder No. 2 – this one lives next door to No. 3. No. 2 is the only one of the alders to remain unscathed by sheep.
Here’re some of No. 2’s brand spanking new leaves (all of the alders have them now!). They’re perfect.
Grey alder No. 3. (Sorry about the photos of the alders – I couldn’t get any good ones with their superb camouflage for blending in with the background).
Here’s the tip of one of No. 3’s branches after being nibbled down to size by an ovine fiend. Disgraceful.
Grey alder No. 4 – leading the competition in the leaf department.
Taken back home in the garden on Saturday evening, this photo shows how another Set A tree – Scots pine Alpha – has begun expanding its buds. These little brown columns are lengthening noticeably with each passing day; soon they will be great, long candles. Then it won’t be long until they blast out 2010’s needles!
Posted on April 19, 2010 by Ash
It’s been over three years since I planted the Set A grey alders as seeds, and in that time they’ve outgrown the garden where I’ve been keeping them in giant plant pots – the smallest (No. 2) is almost as tall as me; the tallest (No. 1) is a foot or so taller! Something had to be done before the 2010 growing season began – who knows how big they will be by the end of the summer – but what? How do you transport four man-sized trees, and where do you plant them if you don’t own a wood?
Grey alder No. 3 in its new spot. Notice how there is no disturbance around the base? Thanks to careful soil-management and bracken-placement, you wouldn’t be able to tell from a glance that this tree had been planted only minutes previously. Those treemandos were pro-style.
Grey alder No. 2.
Grey alder No. 4
No. 4 was covered in tiny leaves!
Grey alder No. 1.
(I apologise for the lack of clarity and definition in the photos of the alders, but it isn’t easy to capture a small, leafless tree against a busy natural background!)
Will they survive out there in the real world?
Set C(r) rowans transplanted. Six rowan tricots. Set D rowans planted. The fate of the Set D beeches and sweet chestnuts.
Posted on April 12, 2010 by Ash
The transplanted Set C(r) rowans (Sorbus aucuparia) yesterday, minus the tricots.
Yesterday was a busy day for treeblog…
The first five Upper Midhope rowan seedlings, U1 to U5, en route to the plug tray.
The plug tray as a bird would see it. May they live long and prosper.
The first five tricots, WT1 to WT5, en route to their plug tray.
A closer look at WT1…
…and WT2 and WT3 and WT4 and WT5. Marvellous.
The germinated Oaken Clough seedlings, freshly removed from the pretreatment plant pot and ready for planting.
F1: one germinating cut-leaved beech nut. Yes!!!
These three germinated beechnuts I planted in pots. The damaged beech will just shrivel and die; it has expended all of its energy on a root that is now not there. The cut-leaved beech trapped in the cupule will probably die from being unable to escape its prison. Now all of treeblog’s beech hopes and dreams rest on the shoulders of one cut-leaved beech. No pressure or anything.
Posted on April 8, 2010 by Ash
Grand news tree fans! Most of the Set C downy birches (Betula pubescens) have made it through the harsh winter and are now beginning to unfurl their first leaves of the year. The last time I posted a Set C birch update, in September, there were twenty-two seedlings left to follow. Today, that number is down to seventeen. Seventeen tiny birches, and you can see photos of each of them below. But first, a little bit of clarification on the current status of each seedling:
Now for le photos – taken on Sunday (Day 389).
Who’s this, then? It’s downy birch No. 1!
Downy birches Nos. 2 and 4.
Downy birches Nos. 5 and 10.
Downy birches Nos. 12 to 15.
Downy birches Nos. 21 and 22.
Downy birches Nos. 24 to 26 and No. 30.
Downy birches Nos. 27 and 28 - disappointingly prostrate.
And now for the dead ones. At least, they certainly have the appearance of being dead. But you never know… Maybe one or two of them will stage an unlikely comeback? Trust no-one!
Dead downy birches Nos. 3, 11, 16 and 23.
Dead downy birch No. 6.
Dead downy birch No. 9 – photographed yesterday (Day 392), a few days after its fellow cadavers. I, uh, missed it the first time around or something. The blue slug pellets should tell you two things. 1) No. 9 is exceedingly tiny; and 2) Now that winter is over, the slugs and the snails are oot and aboot again so I’m getting Vietnam flashbacks to June 2007, when the Set A seedlings where mullered by slugs. You ain’t getting your 27,000 teeth on my seedlings this time, you malevolent molluscs!
Set C(r) news: On Tuesday (Day 329), three new Upper Midhope rowan seedlings appeared: U3, U4 and U5. Yesterday, (Day 330), a further two Upper Midhope rowan seedlings appeared: U6 and U7. I think I’ll have to transplant the Set C(r) seedlings from the seed tray into plant pots rather soon…
Posted on April 5, 2010 by Ash
Excellent news! The rowans (Sorbus aucuparia) that I planted 328 days ago are sprouting in droves! This afternoon I counted around forty seedlings growing where I planted seeds from the Whitwell Moor rowan and two seedlings growing where I planted seeds from the Upper Midhope rowan. That’s a lot of seedlings, and treeblog can really only follow so many – so I’ve picked twenty of the Whitwell Moor seedlings to follow, along with as many Upper Midhope seedlings that germinate (up to twenty). That’s still a lot of rowans, and I’ve yet to even plant the Set D rowan seeds I collected last year (which I’m going to go ahead and plant anyway to see which of the three methods of pre-treatment used worked best).
The skeletal Upper Midhope rowan, seen here on the 24th of August 2006.
But when I reached the spot where the rowan grew, it had sadly fallen over!
The Whitwell Moor rowan on the day of berry collection.
Along with some downy birch seeds and some sweet chestnuts, I planted both lots of rowan berries as treeblog Set C on the 11th of March 2009. I mistakenly planted the berries whole – but apparently you’re supposed to remove the seeds from the berries before planting.
On the day of planting. The Upper Midhope berries occupy the upper third of the top-left tray; the Whitwell Moor berries occupy the bottom-right tray.
After realising my mistake, I exhumed the berries and removed the seeds on the 10th & 11th of May 2009 - what a messy procedure! I replanted the cleaned-up seeds on the 12th of May, calling them Set C(r) (r for rowan) to distinguish them from the rest of Set C, which didn’t need replanting. [11th March 2009 = Set C Day 0 / 12th May 2009 = Set C(r) Day 0.]
The Whitwell Moor seeds after cleaning, prior to replanting.
A month later, in mid-June, several seedlings appeared in the Set C(r) seed tray, but they turned out to be self-set willows, not rowans. (Some of the willows are now dead; the rest I tried to kill by ‘coppicing’ them so that they wouldn’t compete with any future-sprouting rowans - I couldn’t just pull them up because their roots were so extensive I’d have messed up the whole seed tray. Of course, these tiny willow stumps survived and are now budding up!)
The two Upper Midhope seedlings (designated by ‘U’): U1 & U2.
…And the twenty Whitwell Moor seedlings (designated by ‘W’):
W1 to W5.
W6 to W10.
W11 to W15.
W16 to W20.
Posted on April 4, 2010 by Ash
On parade today are all fifteen Set A cider gums, lined up and ready to be inspected for the first time since August! These poor young eucalypts have been ravaged by the harshest winter for many a year, and it looks as though six of our comrades have fallen (and most of the survivors have frost-damaged tips) – yet there may be still be hope. The previous winter (2008-2009) looked to have dealt fatal blows to cider gums Nos. 3 and 15, but they somehow managed to crawl back from the precipice of the grave. Hardy buggers. Can this miracle be repeated in 2010? (Photographs taken yesterday, 1102 days since I planted Set A.)
Cider gum No. 1 – looking very dead. Has it fallen into the endless abyss?
Cider gum No. 2 – one of the tall Class I gums.
Cider gum No. 3 - one of the three Class III runty gums. The dead upper part of No. 3 was killed off by the previous winter, but the winter-just-gone looks to have put paid to its recovery efforts.
Cider gum No. 4.
Cider gum No. 5 – another one of those that may now be At Rest.
Cider gum No. 6 – another Class III, another cadaver?
Cider gum No. 7 – the tallest of all the cider gums. A real Class I über-gum. It now shares its pot with a brassy young sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) that has recently sprouted.
Cider gum No. 7’s new roomie.
Cider gum No. 8.
Cider gum No. 9 also has a new roomie: a wee clump of what look to be rushes.
I hope it’s Juncus effusus!
Cider gum No. 10.
Cider gum No. 11 – another victim of winter.
Cider gum No. 12 - Class I.
Cider gum No. 13 – the only treeblog tree still on crutches. Some of the other gums are looking a bit leany or loose in the soil, so support canes will probably be making a comeback.
Cider gum No. 14 - Class I.
Cider gum No. 15 - Class III. Has this winter managed what the previous one couldn’t? Poor things looks dead as a door-post.
Set C news: There are Set C(r) rowans sprouting by the bucketload! These beauties will be the subject of the next post, but I’ll tell you right here and now that yesterday I counted thirty-three seedlings in the Whitwell Moor section and two in the Upper Midhope section. I photographed them this afternoon, along with the Set C birches, which are just beginning to put out their first leaves of the new year. treeblog is in a good place!
Posted on April 2, 2010 by Ash
A dead and rotting birch (Betula). I think the little bracket fungi you may be able to make out are birch polypore (Piptoporus betulinus), but they’re pretty poor attempts at fruiting bodies.
This picture is classic Millstones Wood through and through: all rocks and twisty beeches.
This particular beech (Fagus sylvatica) has a splendidly green trunk thanks to a coating of enthusiastic leprose lichen.
I rediscovered this larch (Larix, probs decidua) wound. It hasn’t changed much since the last time I remember seeing it, on the 3rd of January 2008. I first saw the wound on the 4th of April 2007 when it was still very fresh.
Blue sky, shadows, Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris), rocks, and bilberry. What more could you want?
This dead branch reminded me of the chair in ‘Jacob’s’ cabin…
I suppose that to most people this is just a photo of a dirt floor - or more precisely, a photo of a woodland floor covered in old pine needles and bits of pine cone. But I hold a sort of weird fascination for this shining gold-silver pattern.
At one end of Millstones Wood, before it peters out into a grassy, trig-point-topped Salter hill, there grow a few stunted Scots pines and larches. Over the stone wall on the right of this photo there is a field full of gorse (Ulex europaeus) that has recently been completely burned, presumably with a view to control / eradicate it. Whether purposefully or accidentally, the fire spread over the wall where it destroyed several of the stunted pines and seriously singed a few more.
This poor pine is like one giant piece of charcoal now.
Pine cone. Victim.
Early this morning, under the cover of fog, treeblog history was made: grey alders Nos. 2 & 3 were released into the wild in a special covert op! Parts 3 & 4 of Operation Alder shall commence next weekend, all being well, and after that I shall produce a post detailing the daring exploits of these guerrilla plantings!
Third Anniversary of the planting of treeblog's Set A. treeblog update (Set A, Day 1096): Scots pines & grey alders.
Posted on March 28, 2010 by Ash
That’s right! A whole three years have passed since I first planted the Set A seeds. I started it all off with a packet of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) seeds that I was given at a careers fair, a packet of cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii) seeds that I borrowed from uni, and a handful of grey alder (Alnus incana) seeds that I collected on a field trip. To demonstrate just how much the Set A trees have changed since I planted them on the 28th of March 2007, I’ve assembled three mini-timelines. The Scots pine and grey alder assemblages of are followed by normal-sized contemporary photographs, taken this afternoon. I haven’t photographed the cider gums yet, but I expect to get them later in the week. I’ll give them a separate treeblog update of their own.
Day 1096 - 28 March 2010
…and here’s the other Scots pine, Gamma. The buds on the Scots pines haven’t started swelling yet, but I’m anticipating another massive growth spurt in May.
To represent Alnus incana, here’s grey alder No. 4:
Day 1096 - 28 March 2010
… and here are the rest of the grey alders. This is No. 1 - the tallest of the bunch. The black bar is to mark the maximum height of the tree, as the leading twig doesn’t really stand out very well from the background. I apologise for the miserable colours (I upped the brightness and contrast), but it was the only available plain(ish) backdrop big enough to do the job!
Grey alder No. 2 – the shortest alder.
Grey alder No. 3. The buds on Nos. 3 and 4 are just beginning to open.
This is one of the very first leaves to make an appearance on alder No. 4.
And here’s a look at the bark on No. 4’s trunk. It’s awesome, isn’t it, the way the outer layer of bark peels back from around the lenticels to form all those little diamonds?
To represent Eucalyptus gunnii, here’s cider gum No. 7 (with some of his cohorts):
(More on the cider gums in the forthcoming update.)
The Artist Formerly Known As PSAUS.
Posted on February 18, 2010 by Ash
Male catkins on hazel (Corylus avellana).
Winter’s grip on the countryside is finally loosening! The weather may still be nasty, but the days are getting longer and the local alders and hazels have been blasting out their male catkins. The hazels in particular look rather spiffing, their pale yellow lambs’ tails creating welcome splashes of colour in an otherwise bleak treescape.
More male hazel catkins, or lambs’ tails. These photos were taken beside Broomhead Reservoir on Tuesday.
This year’s developing male catkins (cigar-shaped) and last year’s woody female catkins (egg-shaped) on an overhead alder (Alnus glutinosa) branch.
And now for a brief update on the treeblog trees, neglected on this blog for far too long. Sad face.
The two Scots pines look fine. The four grey alders are covered in buds; the top of grey alder No. 4 is dead, as suspected in September. Most of the cider gums look alright, although a few of them have picked up a bit of a lean. Cider gums Nos. 1 and 15 look like they have suffered some serious frost damage. Will they survive? No. 15 took a lot of frost damage last year and survived… The post-Set A goat willow (the seedling formerly known as PSAUS) has some nice big buds.
Most of the downy birches have just started opening their tiny little buds. A few of them may have died, and some of them look to have had their roots exposed over the winter, so some replanting may be in order this weekend.
Set C’s downy birch No. 2 on Tuesday (16th February – 342 days after planting), standing a fine one-inch tall.
None of the sweet chestnuts or beechnuts, planted in the autumn, have sprouted yet. I’m aiming to plant my rowan seeds, the other component of Set D, in March. They are currently undergoing pretreatment.
P.S. It was treeblog’s third anniversary on Sunday!
Posted on October 13, 2009 by Ash
So I’ve (1) collected and (2) pre-pretreated treeblog’s Set D rowan seeds. Now they are undergoing (3) pretreatment before I (4) plant them in the spring. The last time I planted rowan seeds – for treeblog Set C – I neglected to pretreat them and my folly was rewarded by a total absence of germination. (So far… A year of ‘natural pretreatment’ and they may yet germinate alongside the Set D seeds!) This time I am boosting my chances of success by trying out three different methods of pretreatment advised by the Forestry Commission in their Practice Guide Growing trees and shrubs from seed by Peter Gosling (2007) [available online in .pdf format here].
A. “Easy: natural (outdoor) pretreatment / sowing with medium”
A. On Saturday I filled two small plant pots with a one part compost, one part sand mix. Into one pot I mixed a third of the Whitwell Moor seeds; into the other I mixed a third of the Oaken Clough seeds. I’ve placed the two pots outside where they are open to rainwater but should avoid large fluctuations in daily temperature. There they shall remain until spring. Sixteen to thirty weeks from the 10th of October gives us a planting window open from the 30th of January to the 8th of May. I’ll probably plant all of the Set D rowan seeds proper in March.
B. “Moderate: artificial (temperature controlled) pretreatment with medium”
B. On Saturday I filled two empty yoghurt pots with a one part compost, one part sand mix. Into one pot I mixed a third of the Whitwell Moor seeds; into the other I mixed a third of the Oaken Clough seeds. I’ve placed the two open-topped pots in the fridge where I’ll ensure that they remain moist until spring.
C. “Skilled: artificial (temperature controlled) pretreatment without medium”
C. On Saturday the 3rd of October I started separate 48-hour soakings of the Whitwell Moor and Oaken Clough seeds. I rinsed the seeds two or three times during the 48-hours. A week later (last Saturday), I transferred the surface-dry seeds to two small polythene bags and placed them in the fridge.
* * * * *
So there you go. Will the seeds make it through the winter? Will any of them germinate next spring? Will there be any difference between the Whitwell Moor and Oaken Clough seedlings? Which method of pretreatment will be the most successful? Only time will tell!!!
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