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The treeblog trees
Posted on May 19, 2009 by Ash
Yesterday (Set A, Day 782), and another break in the rain, I got outside and photographed grey alders Nos. 1, 2 and 3, both Scots pines, and the post-Set A unknown seedling (PSAUS). And the potted birch seedlings from Set C, but that’s a different post.
Scots pine Alpha in its new pot. Since Alpha’s last appearance on treeblog in the Day 754 update almost a month ago, it has grown a fine set of candles. The leading candle is the tallest by far – the close-up view below allows the young needles to be made out.
This candle performs a clever little trick daily: it leans over, and then straightens itself up again. One may expect it to grow towards the sun, in whose direction it sometimes does lean; but mostly the candle leans away from the sun towards a dark wall of conifer. Perhaps the candle is showing a tendency to grow towards warmth. The dark, flat surface of the conifer hedge will probably radiate a fair bit of thermal energy when warmed by direct sunlight.
Scots pine Gamma: not as developed as Scots pine Alpha in the candle stakes.
Grey alder No. 1. Whilst the grey alders are much bigger trees than the Scots pines, they are still stuck in the same-sized pots. I’ve got my eye on some 30-litre pots to rectify this unacceptable situation.
Grey alder No. 2, the smallest of the four.
Root nodules at the base of No. 2 (at least I assume that’s what they are). A photograph of these same nodules appeared in the Day 702 update when they were dull orange, not crimson. It might just be the angle of the photographs, but they seem to have grown a bit bigger since then. They contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria of the genus Frankia that take nitrogen from the atmosphere, where it is unusable by the tree, and ‘fix’ it into compounds that are used by the tree.
Grey alder No. 3.
No. 3 has a large-cotyledoned seedling growing at its feet, probably either an ash (Fraxinus excelsior) or a sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus).
The PSAUS, although perhaps it ought to be henceforth known as the PSAW for it has now been recognised as a willow. What flavour of willow it is remains to be seen, however. Candidate species are goat willow (Salix caprea) – a clump grow locally – and white willow (Salix alba) – a large specimen grows quite close by.
The willow’s blackened old leader remains, even though it died off last autumn.
Set C(r) news - Day 68 (yesterday)
Posted on May 17, 2009 by Ash
Grey alder No. 4 earlier today.
Admire its rain-spattered leaves…
…and the base of its trunk, as thick as a strong thumb.
A sunny interval after days of near-incessant rain saw me out in the garden this afternoon looking to take enough photos for a treeblog update. Unfortunately yet predictably the sun didn’t stay out long enough for that, but I did get some photos of grey alder No. 4. Then I noticed that the treeblog flagship has once more come under attack. Last year it was caterpillars; this year it’s much more serious. Those caterpillars were only interested in leaves, and leaves are easy come, easy go. But whatever is attacking the Beast this year is taking big chunks out of stems. And not just any stems, but specifically new ones at the top of the tree. The very leader is amongst those stems damaged.
Damage to one of grey alder No. 4’s upper stems.
Damage to the actual leader, just a few centimetres below the very top of the tree. Outrageous!
Even more damage: a near-severed section of stem.
Who is causing the damage? Almost certainly some form of insect. But what? Aphids? There are a few on the tree, but surely greenfly can’t devour stems in this manner. Wasps? My father suggested that they could be to blame. I’ve read that they can chew through succulent stems, apparently to access water.
To use pesticide or not to use pesticide, that is the question.
I don’t agree with the use of pesticides. They are generally harmful to the environment; they are inherently unnatural; they are cheating. But. My alder means a lot to me. I have put a lot of effort into raising and documenting it; I have grown very fond of it; I want to prevent further harm from befalling it. Ten, twenty, fifty years down the line, I want grey alder No. 4 to be a great tree.
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Set C news - Day 67 (today)
Posted on May 12, 2009 by Ash
The ‘Whitwell Moor’ rowan seeds after cleaning.
After exhuming the ‘Whitwell Moor’ rowan berries and extracting the seeds on Sunday, I did the same for the ‘Upper Midhope’ rowan berries yesterday. I also removed any trace of berry from all of the seeds, then today I replanted them. FYI kiddo, today is Set C(r) Day 0 / Set C Day 62 / Set A Day 776. It’s hard to keep track sometimes, isn’t it?
The ‘Upper Midhope’ rowan seeds after cleaning.
Set A also saw some replanting, or rather repotting. Both Scots pines received a much-needed pot upgrade, as did the larger cider gums: Nos. 2, 7, 12, 13 and 14. All were repotted in a two-parts compost, one-part sand mixture. The rest of the Set A characters need repotting too but they’ll have to wait a bit: I’m all out of compost and sand now. Looks like a trip to a garden centre or the B&Q is on the cards then, where I’ll also be looking to procure four super-large pots for the grey alders.
The newly potted treelings. From left to right (in the big pots), cider gums Nos. 14, 2, 13, 7 and 12, then Scots pine Beta and Scots pine Alpha on the end. Cider gum No. 10, still in one of the old pots, is included for scale. The rowan seed tray is there too!
treeblog updates for all the trees coming soon!
Posted on May 11, 2009 by Ash
I spent some time yesterday transplanting twenty-five birch seedlings out of the seed tray and into small plant pots, two per pot. Which twenty-five? All of the birches from No. 1 to No 30 except No. 29 – the tricot – and Nos. 8, 18, 19 and 20. Why those twenty-five? I decided to transplant just the first thirty birches for reasons of time, space, and their delicate nature. I’m not sure transplanting them at so an early stage is such a good idea, which is why I’ve left tricotyledonous No. 29 in situ for now – I don’t dare risk disturbing it. Nos. 8, 18, 19 and 20 I can no longer tell apart from each other and surrounding seedlings, so they’ve been left behind in the seed tray, lost in their own tiny forest. All the other seedlings in the birch tray, for the time being, will be left to their own devices.
Birches Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 7, mid-transplant (all to the same scale). These four had particularly long roots which were fairly free of soil.
I also sifted through the ‘Whitwell Moor’ rowan tray and removed all of the berries (sixty days after I planted them on the 11th of March), a course of action explained in this post from a week and a half ago. Before doing this I had to transplant the only seedling in the tray into a pot. It was very tiny and I’m quite sure it wasn’t a rowan. Still, it might be interesting finding out what it is.
A handful of exhumed berries before rinsing. There were way more than the few seen here!
The fruits of my labour, or maybe the labour of my fruits: the rowan seeds in submerged. Not one had germinated so far as I could tell.
The waste product heap. This handful of slimy rowan berry mush went in the compost bin.
This big grub or maggot, about four centimetres long, was lurking in the rowan tray’s soil along with a smaller grub, several small earthworms, and a long orange centipede. The surface of each seed tray is also home to numerous springtails.
Posted on May 9, 2009 by Ash
Birches Nos. 29, 32, 46 and 53 this afternoon (Day 59).
Exciting tidings! One of the birch seedlings has turned out to be a tricot! Birch No. 29 (in the above photo) has three cotyledons, not the normal amount of two. I have previously found two tricotyledonous seedlings (both sycamore, Acer pseudoplatanus): one near Edinburgh in spring 2005 and another in the Ewden Valley in spring 2007. The first one died a couple of days after I collected it because I had nowhere to plant it as I was staying away from home. The second one (which appeared on treeblog back in the day) died mysteriously a month or so after I collected it. That was a bit upsetting so I hope it’ll be third time lucky with my birch tricot, the first one I have seen.
In case you were wondering, this is what a birch (either Betula pendula or Betula pubescens) looks like when it is a few years old. This one was found growing in the garden a couple of years ago by my father.
Any idea what these are? I found a few of them lying on top of the soil in the Set C seed trays today. At first I thought I was seeing some new kind of seedling because of their similarity to a pair of unopened cotyledons, but I was wrong. They also look a bit like anthers, so perhaps they have blown in off some flowering plant. Then again, they don’t appear to have any pollen on them. Another treeblog mystery!
Posted on May 1, 2009 by Ash
Before we get stuck in to the main course, would Reader like a starter? Another two seedlings were observed in the birch tray yesterday (Day 50), bringing the total to twenty-six. On top of that, a Set C first: two seedlings were discovered in sweet chestnut territory! But are they really sweet chestnut seedlings or just weed impostors? I’ve never seen a sweet chestnut seedling before, but I had a mental image of them being, uh, beefier. At least they’re not nettles…
The Set C birch seeds. I collected them from an impressive tree on Whitwell Moor. Those catkins (more correctly “strobiles”) were chock-a-block full of seeds too.
The Set C sweet chestnuts. I collected them from a magnificent old tree at Wigtwizzle.
…some very small seeds, such as willow and poplar, and some very large fruits, such as oak, sycamore, sweet chestnut and horse chestnut, die quite soon after being shed from the tree – one of the last properties you would normally associate with seeds. The fruits are killed if they dry out and at present there is no known method of doing anything more than slowing down their rate of deterioration. It is therefore only worth collecting seeds of these species if you can sow them fairly quickly, or are prepared to suffer significant losses over, for example, one winter’s storage.
Great. It goes on to describe chestnuts as recalcitrant – highly perishable. One thing you can’t do is to let these things dry out: “if they are frozen or dried, they die”. I didn’t have anywhere humid to store my chestnuts, so I stuck them in the shed all winter. The air in the shed is certainly not as dry as that in the house, but I wouldn’t exactly call it humid. At least I didn’t put them in the freezer.
I collected these, the majority of the Set C rowan berries, from a tree on Whitwell Moor. A further eighty or so berries were collected from a tree near Upper Midhope.
Fleshy fruits are also some of the most awkward and certainly the messiest to process. …very occasionally a little fermentation can help. However, for seeds such as hawthorn, holly and rowan, fermentation can be significantly harmful or even fatal and is therefore to be avoided. Subsequently, most seeds will need repeated washing not only to remove the clinging remnants of sticky flesh, but also as a means of removing chemicals that have the potential to inhibit germination.
Germination-inhibiting chemicals? Oh no! (At least rowan seeds, like birch seeds, are “orthodox” so can be dried and frozen for storage. My berries experienced the same storage conditions as my birch seeds.) Anyway, once your rowan seeds are nice and clean with no tarrying trace of berry, they can enter pretreatment hell. The guide describes pretreatment as “Only partially effective: even with the longest pretreatment durations and/or several pretreatment cycles”! Still, it recommends 2-4 warm (about 15°C) weeks and 16-30 cold (about 4°C) weeks of pretreatment. Awesome.
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Raising trees and shrubs from seed is a great little guide. It provides a host of advice on collecting, preparing, storing and planting seed. You can download it free from here: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/fcpg018.pdf/$FILE/fcpg018.pdf
Posted on April 29, 2009 by Ash
At the last count, at half five this afternoon, there were twenty-four seedlings in the birch tray. I think it’s reasonable to assume that at least the majority of these seedlings really are birch, as opposed to self-seeded weeds, considering that there isn’t a thing growing in either of the other three trays (which contain sweet chestnuts, rowan berries, and half sweet chestnuts, half rowan berries respectively). Innovation! I’m keeping track of the seedlings by planting a little numbered flag next to each one; this will allow the future trees to be photographically tracked back to their very earliest days of germination. This might seem (be) pointless or anally retentive, but I regret having not done the same thing with the Set A seedlings. I have photos of cider gum and grey alder seedlings from the early days, and I don’t know whether those seedlings were eaten by slugs/snails* or are still in the treeblog stables today. Which slightly irritates me.
The birch tray earlier today: lots of flags, lots of blue slug pellets, and lots of birch seedlings (only a few of which are visible).
Set C’s birches: the story so far…
treeblog’s most pointless image ever? I said I thought it would be good to have photos of all the seedlings from their earliest days, but really? I can make out bugger all from here, and the large version isn’t much cop either.
Nevermind. Here’s a nice big close-up to make it all better again:
Birch No. 1. That red spot between the cotyledons looks like more leaves are on the way!
Posted on April 25, 2009 by Ash
Great joy! Checking the Set C seed trays yesterday (Day 44) I found what I have long waited for: the first proper seedling! A pair of little green leaves was poking above the soil in the birch seed tray, and upon closer inspection a further two seedlings were partially covered up just an inch away, right at the edge of the tray. And then I noticed a fourth seedling just beginning to poke through an inch from the first. What’s more, when I checked the trays today, I saw what looks like a fifth birch seedling coming through!
Aaw, isn’t it cute? I might be jumping the gun a little (what if it dies / gets eaten / isn’t a birch), but this can be birch No. 1. By the way, I’ll keep these photos labelled as “Betula sp.” until I ID the parent as a silver (B. pendula) or downy (B. pubescens) birch. [Update (5 July 2009): These seedlings are all downy birches!]
And these can be Nos. 2 and 3. No. 1 is just in frame on the right.
Birch No. 4. No 1 is in the photo again, this time in the bottom left.
Now for a bit of history to put the timings of these germinations into perspective. In 2007 Set A was planted on the 28th of March and we had seedlings sprouting in force thirty days later, Day 30 being the 27th of April. In 2008 Set B was planted on the 14th of March but it only produced one seedling, also a birch, which unfortunately died within a couple of months; that seedling was first noticed on the 10th of May, fifty-seven days after planting. So now for 2009: Set C was planted on the 11th of March, and the first seedlings were noticed forty-four days later on the 24th of April. A rooted rowan berry with no stem or leaves has been seen (one and a half weeks ago) – so rowan seedlings shouldn’t be too far away. As for the third Set C species, sweet chestnut, I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that they grow. Sweet chestnut was also a failed Set B species.
Posted on April 23, 2009 by Ash
Say a big hello to the latest treeblog update, this time around updating you on the progress of the grey alders, the Scots pines, and of course, the post-Set A unknown seedling (PSAUS). I took these photographs on Monday (the 20th), 754 days after Set A was planted; while I was at it I took a tape measure to each of the treelings to measure their height before their growth explodes.
The PSAUS, looking rather lovely in the sunshine. It’s leafing out and branching out. 13 cm tall (from the base to the tip of the stem).
Grey alder No. 4. The tallest of all the treeblog trees at a whopping 91 cm. Primo!
Grey alders Nos. 1, 2 and 3. 75 cm, 55 cm and 65 cm high respectively.
Scots pine Alpha. 17 cm tall.
Scots pine Gamma. At 12 cm tall, this one’s the shortest in this update.
How will the heights have changed by the end of the summer? Will grey alder No. 4 still be the big daddy? Will PSAUS finally get a positive ID???
Posted on April 22, 2009 by Ash
I was out in the sunny garden on Monday photographing and measuring the grey alders and Scots pines for a Set A update, which I’ll post tomorrow. Here are five miscellaneous photos that shouldn’t mind being left out of an update:
So on Monday, or Day 40, while undertaking my daily scrutinisation of the Set C seed trays, I noticed sommat in the birch tray. Not bethinking it to be a seedling, as it was lying on the soil surface, I gently hoisted it upon a fingernail. Lo! twas a birch seed with a root! After a photo I put it back under a light cover of soil, or more accurately, compost. Will it carry on growing and develop into a bona fide seedling? Or will it wither away before ever amounting to aught? Nothing more has been seen or heard of the rooted rowan berry accidentally excavated on the 14th…
From Set C to Set A: the uppermost buds of Scots pine Alpha (there are a pair much further down the stem). Any time now I expect the large terminal bud, swollen with spring, to erupt into new needles.
One of grey alder No. 4’s leaves. The leaves of all four alders currently don’t look like normal grey alder leaves, either because they are the first leaves of spring or because they aren’t yet fully developed.
Cider gum No. 15, scarred survivor of the New Year’s hoar frost. It’s not dead, it’s got buds! Little red ones!
Cider gum No. 3, not just scarred, but killed off by that same frost. But was it? Low down on its stem, this tiny branch. It was there before the frost – I’m not saying it has grown since then. But I do say it looks like the old freak may still have life in it yet!
And in other news, my father and I completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge yesterday.
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Saturday 25th April – Monday 4th May
Posted on April 10, 2009 by Ash
Grey alders: check. Scots pines: check. Cider gums: coming right up sir. Two by two sir, just like Noah’s menagerie.
Cider gums Nos. 1 and 2.
Cider gums Nos. 4 and 5. No. 4 has several frost-damaged leaves, which can just be made out in the photo (for higher-res versions of any photo on treeblog, click it and then the ‘ALL SIZES’ button). Check out all that moss!
Cider gums Nos. 7 and 8. No. 7 is the tallest of them all. Look how it dwarfs the rather nice No. 8.
Cider gums Nos. 9 and 10.
Cider gums Nos. 11 and 12. No. 11 looks a mess: small, frost-bitten, and bent over to one side so. Poor thing.
Cider gums Nos. 13 and 14: the Branching Duo.
Gut, ja? Well, things aren’t looking so well with the runts…
Cadaverous cider gum No. 3. By all appearances, deceased. That damned hoar frost over New Year’s did it in! But can the Freak really be an ex-cider gum? So long as that bit of stem around its fork remains green, I’ll keep some small hope aflame. Can No. 3 rise from the dead?
Cider gum No. 6. The only one of the runts that I can say is fine with any conviction.
Cider gum No. 15. It’s bad, very bad… but it might not be fatal. While the top has definitely kicked the bucket, some mid-section leaves retain some greenery. And could those red blobs be buds? Can No. 15 pull through? That damned hoar frost.
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Set C update – Day 30 (today): Still no sign of germination. Two years ago, the first Set A seedlings had germinated by Day 30. Still, Set A was planted two and a half weeks later in the year than Set C, so Set A’s Day 30 was at the end of April. If there aren’t any Set C seedlings by the end of this April, I shall be getting worried. I can’t handle another Set B.
Posted on April 8, 2009 by Ash
Spring is doing things to the treeblog trees. It’s making buds open and leaves come out. Although to be honest, spring hasn’t brought any noticeable change in the appearance of the Scots pines and cider gums, but after months of having them look like bare twigs the re-emergence of greenery on the grey alders and the unknown seedling is a sight to gladden the heart. The cider gum update will be here in a couple of days; until then, enjoy the rest of the gang.
Grey alder No. 4, the mightiest of all the treeblog trees.
Check out some of the Beast’s fresh new leaves. Once all these super-efficient solar panels have been deployed, the alders are going to rocket up. This is causing me all kinds of anxieties and palpitations because this tree needs to be in the ground somewhere, not in a pot, yet I don’t have anywhere to plant it!
Grey alders Nos. 1, 2 and 3. It’s not just No. 4 that needs to be found a home, these three urgently need one too!
Scots pine Alpha.
Scots pine Gamma. I hope these two put on a spurt this year and get some branches on the go.
The pointy terminal bud of Scots pine Gamma.
The post-Set A unknown seedling. Will 2009 be the year it gets identified so its present unwieldy moniker can be done away with? There’s a rumour that it could be a goat willow…
What do you think? Do you put stock in this rumour? On the left we have a section of the Unknown One. On the right (not to scale), we have the newly emerging leaves of an actual goat willow (Salix caprea), photographed on April the 3rd. Similar buds, similar leaves with stipules*… and the difference in the colour of the shoots may be explained by the trusty Collins Tree Guide (by Johnson, 2004): Shoots red in sun, grey/green in shade. Please be a goat willow. Please.
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Set C update – Day 28 (today): Still no sign of germination.
Posted on March 28, 2009 by Ash
Aye, today is the Second Anniversary of the planting of treeblog’s Set A. Those two years have gone by in a flash, but, paradoxically, it seems at the same time as if an age has passed since I put those seeds under the soil. To commemorate that occasion, I have laboured to put together a photographic summary for each of Set A’s constituent species: Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), grey alder (Alnus incana), and cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii). These summaries consist of twelve sequential photos of a representative from each species; the first photos show seeds on the day of planting, the final photos show the trees today, and the other ten show intermediate stages. I’m quite proud of how much the Set A trees have grown over the course of just two years, particularly the alders.
Representing Alnus incana, here’s grey alder No. 4:
Representing Eucalyptus gunnii, here’s cider gum No. 7 (getting by with a little help from its friends):
Pretty nifty, eh? And just think: a year from now you could be looking back on three years of Set A!
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Set C update – Day 17 (today): No sign of germination yet.
Posted on March 11, 2009 by Ash
Day 0 (Set C).
One hundred and one weeks since the planting of Set A and fifty-one weeks since the planting of failed Set B, I planted treeblog’s Set C today in a private garden ceremony. This latest set is represented by three species: rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.), sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.), and birch (either silver (Betula pendula Roth) or downy (Betula pubescens Ehrh.)). Whereas a single tree provided me with all my chestnuts, and another with all my birch seeds, my rowan berries were collected from two different trees.
Another (more aesthetically pleasing) view of those chestnuts.
The planting process was straightforward. I half-filled four seed trays with compost. Into one tray went all the birch seeds, into another went the Whitwell Moor rowan berries, into the third went half of the sweet chestnuts, and into the fourth went the rest of the chestnuts and the Upper Midhope rowan berries. All nicely spaced out likes. Then a light covering of more compost and a good watering.
Posted on March 2, 2009 by Ash
The Scots pines and grey alders got their update on Friday. Today it’s the turn of Set A’s cider gums (Eucalyptus gunnii) - all fifteen of them. Whilst an evergreen species, the cider gum doesn’t do much in the way of growth during the winter. The treeblog cider gums last made their appearance in an update way back on the fifteenth of November (Nos. 3 and 9 appeared covered in frost in a post on the second of January). Back then they looked radiant with health but these days… they aren’t looking so good. I attribute this change for the worse to two particular hardships that this winter has thrown up. One: the hoar frost we had on New Years Eve and New Years Day (same link as above) that covered everything, treeblog trees included, with icy spikes. Two: the heavy snowfall we received at the beginning of February which stayed for two weeks (three weeks on the hilltops). While the tall and sturdy alders were relatively unaffected, the Scots pines and cider gums were mostly snowed under. Actually, the five tallest cider gums (Nos. 2, 7, 12, 13 and 14) live in a more sheltered part of the garden, so wouldn’t have been too badly affected.
Cider gums Nos. 1 and 4. No. 1 has some possible minor leaf damage and No. 4 has damage to its tips (buds) and some of its leaves.
Cider gums Nos. 2 and 7. No. 2 has some damaged tips in its upper reaches and while No. 7’s upper tips look fine, those lower down are damaged.
Cider gums Nos. 5 and 8. Both have damaged tips, although the No. 8’s leading tip seems fine.
Cider gums Nos. 9 and 10. Both 9 and 10 have their lower leaves and one tip damaged; in No. 10’s case it is unfortunately the leading tip.
Cider gums Nos. 11 and 13. Poor old No. 11 has some serious damage to most of its tips, particularly the leader. No. 13 has a bunch of damaged tips.
Cider gums Nos. 12 and 14. No. 12 has some possibly damaged tips and No. 14 has damage to some lower tips.
Now we come to the runts…
Cider gum No. 3. The whole sorry seedling appears to be dying! I really hope it pulls through - in its first year No. 3 was one of treeblog’s biggest characters. The one, the only… the Freak.
Cider gum No. 6. Whilst suffering some damage to its leaves, the leading tip appears fine. It should be okay.
Cider gum No. 15. Serious damage all over! Looking even worse than No. 3, the poor soul is probably a goner.
There you go folks. Sad times. A raft of cider gum damage and the death of two treeblog trees close at hand? Sad times indeed. But in nature, if the weak haven’t got what it takes…
Posted on February 27, 2009 by Ash
It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally posting a treeblog update! It’s the first one of 2009 and the first one in almost 100 days - the last update was posted over three months ago on the 23rd of November. And in all that time… nothing has changed, apart from the grey alders losing the last of their leaves. That explains the lack of an update then, but with spring just weeks away I thought it best to crank one out.
Grey alders Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in their wintry guises. No leaves, no growth… they slumber on and dream of spring.
Grey alder No. 4: the Beast. This one is genetically superior, I have no doubt about that. It towers over the rest of Set A! Some say that it is the arboreal reincarnation of Henry VIII. I don’t know about that.
Scots pine Alpha, looking a bit wonky. I hope this year’s growth endows it with a much sturdier stem.
Scots pine Gamma, looking rather windblown. The two pine photos are not to scale; in real life the Alpha is a bit bigger than the Gamma.
Remember this fellow? What? You don’t? Well I can’t blame you. It’s the post-Set A unknown seedling, and it hasn’t appeared on this humble blog since the update posted on the 6th of October. Back then, the tip of its one and only stem had died, and I didn’t expect the rest of it to last much longer. I was wrong. It’s made it through the winter and its little reddish buds are looking radiant with health. I’ve still no idea what species it is, or even if it is a tree at all. All I’ve got is a gut feeling of willow.
Ah, très intéressant. I noticed these root nodules on grey alder No. 2. They contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria of the genus Frankia that take nitrogen from the atmosphere, where it is unusable by the tree, and ‘fix’ it into compounds that are used by the tree.
This photo shows a bit of damage to the main stem of grey alder No. 4. I don’t know what caused this, but as nothing has been rubbing against the stem I can only assume that someone has been nibbling the bark.
Budwatch 2009. Here it is, the terminal bud of alder No. 4, that great barometer of spring. When will it open? When will spring officially begin? I shall endeavour to keep you updated.
Posted on February 14, 2009 by Ash
The crown of a beech (Fagus sylvatica) in winter. This photograph is contemporary with treeblog’s beginnings. It was taken in Edinburgh on the 3rd of February 2007, probably on Oswald Road in the Grange.
Today is a special day for treeblog; two years have passed since the first post here was published. Revisiting that post today, it reads like a manifesto. I laid down my intentions for this blog, and I have stuck by them.
The purpose of treeblog - the point of its existence - is to form a chronology of the development of a group of trees, right from being planted as seeds or nuts. To chart their development from germination to maturity… supposing that they don’t die before they get there.
And that is what I have being doing. Of course there is much more to this blog. I post the occasional sciencey bit, the occasional newsy bit, and more often than not I post sets of photographs I have taken on walks. But the treeblog trees remain the core of this site.
Posted on January 2, 2009 by Ash
Happy New Year treeblog reader! 2008 went out in style – we had a beautiful hoar frost on New Year’s Eve that stayed for two days. I can’t ever remember there being one of these where I live before, but I saw one in Scotland a winter or two ago. Every twig, leaf, cobweb and blade of grass resplendent under a coating of spiky white frost!
These silver birches (Betula pendula) looked even more silvery than usual.
Cider gum No. 9, like all the treeblog trees, was frosted up. This, in only their second winter, is their first real test of frost tolerance.
Cider gum No. 3, one of the smaller gums.
The very top of grey alder No. 4, the pride of treeblog. I hope those buds haven’t been damaged.
Just one of the many frosted cobwebs that were hung around the garden, all of which were so well highlighted by the frost that they really jumped out and caught the eye.
P.S. 2009's first edition of the Festival of the Trees is up at Rock Paper Lizard, so go enjoy! Next month's edition of the festival will be hosted here at treeblog - information for how to submit will be posted shortly!
Posted on November 23, 2008 by Ash
treeblog Set A update alert! Photography from yesterday afternoon (Day 605).
Grey alders Nos. 1, 2 and 3. No. 1 and No. 2 are in winter mode, but No. 3 is holding back. Interesting.
The Beast! Grey alder No. 4, in full-on winter mode. I reckon the alders actually look better leafless than they have done for a quite a while. One consequence of all those caterpillars setting up home was the alders taking on a rather ragged appearance thanks to holes nibbled in the majority of their leaves. Some leaves were chewed right down to the main vein! Another plus that comes from leaflessness: the 3D branching structure of each alder can now be properly appreciated. Still, I’m looking forwards to seeing these guys bristling with perfect new leaves come spring.
The Alpha Scots pine. Funky needle afro. The two little rosettes up top should explode into action in the springtime.
The Gamma Scots pine. ‘Nuff said.
Posted on November 15, 2008 by Ash
Welcome to a new-look treeblog! I think it looks pretty nifty, and I hope you’ll agree. But who has time to worry about aesthetics when there’s a brand new cider gum update in town? I was out in the chilly November air yestreen snapping photos of Set A’s most numerous species like some dendrological paparazzo, a whole 597 days since I planted those self-same eucalypts as tiny seeds. Oh! how they have grown!
Cider gums Nos. 1, 2 and 4. All in fine fettle, although No. 4 lets the side down a little bit with an unfortunate bend in the stem.
Cider gums Nos. 5, 7 and 8. No. 7 is a right beast!
Cider gums Nos. 9, 10 and 11. Poor old No. 11 is not looking too healthy at the tip of the leading stem - a caterpillar has been at work here. I expect this tip will die off soon and we’ll be looking at a forker.
Cider gums Nos. 12, 13 and 14. Branches galore!
Cider gums Nos. 3, 6, 15: the weans. No. 6 looks to be making a concerted effort to leave behind its days as a runt, now looking as smart and healthy as any of the big uns did this time last year. On the other hand, No. 15 seems to be keeping a very small and compact form. Perhaps it’s practicing to become a bonsai.
There ends this latest update. You can now leave comments on the posts published here at treeblog - just click the link below. I always love a bit feedback.
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