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Posted on September 6, 2009 by Ash
3rd August ‘09. Looking down on Loch Tay from the Drummond Hill silver birch provenance trial. I collected data for my dissertation there in March 2008.
3rd August ’09. Me and my father were skimming pebbles on Loch Tay from a little jetty at Fearnan. This is one of his that hit the water at too steep an angle.
5th August ’09. A hoary old rowan in Glen Lyon with a massive, hollow trunk.
5th August ’09. A complete wreck of a rowan. The only sign of life was a handful of dying leaves out on that snapped limb. A tree crossing the very threshold of death.
5th August ’09. A characterfully windswept Scots pine below Loch an Daimh...
… and nearby, a bit of old Caledonian pinewood.
21st March ’08. Three logs near the silver birch provenance trial, taken on my phone during a snow shower when I was up there collecting dissertation data.
3rd August ’09. The same logs a year and a half later. See how they’re decomposing, and see how the surrounding vegetation has changed.
Posted on September 12, 2009 by Ash
London plane (Platanus x acerifolia) leaves. No pom-poms.
London planes are a common sight in cities, being planted for their high tolerance of air pollution and soil compaction.
A goose on the Ouse. Photos taken yesterday.
Posted on September 17, 2009 by Ash
Dyer’s mazegill (Phaeolus schweinitzii) at the base of a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris).
This post shall send prose to his room and welcome poetry into the drawing room for a brandy. Let me spin thee the tale of last Saturday:
A Late Summer’s Wander
A holly (Ilex aquifolium): the last tree before Pike Lowe.
A stunning berry-laden rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) near Ewden Force.
And another. The rowans around here, while absolutely covered with berries, had more or less lost all of their leaves already. Rowan berries seem to be much more abundant and redder than usual this year. I’m loving it.
A shady pool in Oaken Clough. Danger! Midges!
Looking across the Ewden Valley to Thorpe’s Brow on our way home.
Posted on September 20, 2009 by Ash
Downy birch No. 1 – one of the best.
It‘s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here: the treeblog Set C update that you’ve been missing! Take a gander at the surviving downy birches as they were yesterday, 192 days after I planted them as seeds. Actually, there is no photo of downy birch No. 29 – the tricot – because I no longer know which seedling is No. 29. I presume it’s still alive, but the seed tray where it yet resides is chock-a-block with wee birch seedlings and No. 29 is lost in the horde. That is a problem needing solving.
Downy birches Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5. No. 2 is one of the better performers.
Downy birches Nos. 9, 10, 11 and 12. Nos. 9 and 11 appear to be in their death throes.
Downy birches Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16.
Downy birches Nos. 21, 22, 23 and 24.
Downy birch No. 25 – another one of the top performers.
Downy birches Nos. 26, 27, 28 and 30.
A wee bit of bonus Set A news now. The last fortnight has been very dry, and while the treeblog trees have been kept supplied with water, grey alder No. 4 appears to have been sunburned. The new leaves on the leading shoots are either dead or with dead patches, and the leading shoot itself appears to have died – it feels stiffer than it ought to and is looking more brown than green. This would be the third alder to lose its leader this year; only No. 1 would be left with a perfect main stem.
Posted on September 25, 2009 by Ash
Ganoderma sp. bracket at the base of a small cherry (Prunus sp.) tree, not a million miles from York. Seen yesterday - the 24th of September.
This Ganoderma sp. is a saprophytic fungus: it will only attack the “non-living” heartwood and won’t harm the “living” sapwood. Infected trees may appear normally healthy in external appearance, but inside they can be a soft and mushy mess liable to collapse or fall over at any time. In my new job as an apprentice arborist I’ve already seen a few examples of cherries with healthy canopies, but with Gandoderma fruiting bodies (the brackets) growing from the roots or base of the trunk. These roadside trees had to be felled in the interests of public safety, and I’ve seen from the stumps how rotten the infected heartwood becomes: far too soft to provide the tree with any kind of structural support.
Zounds! Some good egg has stuck his hand in the frame for scale!
One small cherry, one large bracket. If you can’t find it yourself, it’s at ground level right at the base of the tree trunk.
Posted on September 30, 2009 by Ash
On the left: a tray full of cut-leaved beech nuts. On the right: a tray full of Wigtwizzle beech nuts. (Photo: today)
Good news treeblog fans! The first part of Set D was planted today – Wednesday the 30th of September, 2009 – in a twofold break with tradition. The last three sets were planted in the spring; this time it’s autumn. All the tree species in the last three sets were planted on the same day; this time, each species will be planted on a different day. Shocker. The three species that will make up Set D are European beech (Fagus sylvatica), sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), and rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), plus a European beech cultivar: cut- or fern-leaved beech (F. sylvatica ‘Aspleniifolia’).
The cut-leaved beech nuts, just prior to planting this evening.
“Here we go again. Didn’t you already plant beechnuts, like, two years ago?”
The Wigtwizzle beech nuts, immediately before planting this evening.
NV: “What about the rowans and sweet chestnuts? Haven’t you planted those before and weren’t those fail---“
Branches of the cut-leaved beech. (Photo: Saturday)
I went for a sweet little walk in the sun on Saturday (the 26th) afternoon. Yew Trees Lane Wood was really good, and by a certain bridge in a certain valley I found what I sought: a local oddity, the cut-leaved beech tree. I couldn’t see any on the tree, but the ground below the canopy was littered with fresh beechnuts, some still attached to their open cupules. I collected a fair amount...
A pair of beechnuts sitting in their open cupule, resting on the leaf litter below the cut-leaved beech. (Photo: Saturday)
My next port of call was just up the road, but I just didn’t have the time on Saturday to pay a visit. I returned on Monday (the 28th), to Wigtwizzle! where there doth grow one very ancient and venerable veteran sweet chestnut, and adjacent, one ancient, towering beech. Nuts were collected from both trees in 2007 for Set B and from just the chestnut in 2008 for Set C; neither set managed to produce a single tree. This year will be different! On Monday the sweet chestnut still wasn’t quite ready to relinquish its spike-protected fruits, but the beech was in full flow. The ground beneath the two trees was covered with thousands of beechnuts, all easy, luscious and ripe for the picking...
The beech at Wigtwizzle. (Photo: Saturday 7th July 2007 – the day I collected the Set B beechnuts)
A cut-leaved beech leaf. Nothing like an ordinary European beech leaf, eh? (Photo: Saturday)
This cut-leaved beech then. What’s it all about? I think a future post may warrant a deeper delve into the mysteries of this unusual tree, but until then here’s what the trusty Collins Tree Guide (Johnson, 2004) has to say:
Fern-leaved Beech, ‘Aspleniifolia’ (‘Heterophylla’), is only locally frequent as a tree of great distinctiveness and beauty, to 28 m, generating interest and sometimes bewilderment. The depth of the [leaf] lobbing varies from clone to clone. In the commonest and most feathery form (seldom grafted), the shoot-tip leaves are narrower or even linear [a few of the leaves on my local tree are very linear, reminiscent of the white willow, Salix alba], and the crown is distinctively pale, matt and fluffy even when seen at a distance; it colours early in autumn. This tree is a ‘chimaera’, with inner tissues of typical Beech enveloped by cells of the sport, so that sprouts with normal leaves will often grow from the trunk and branches, especially after an injury; unlike ordinary reversions, these seldom or never take over the whole crown. In winter, the tree is typically broad with a skirt of fine branches almost sweeping the ground, and has very dense, fine, horizontal or slightly rising shoot-systems; the distinctive leaves are very slow to rot.
My local tree fits all of these characteristics. I suppose it must have been planted by human hand, probably when the bridge was built (early- to mid-1930s). But by who and for what reason?
Slow-rotting leaf litter beneath the cut-leaved beech. (Photo: Saturday)
…To be planted as soon as the nuts are ripe: the Set D sweet chestnuts! …To be planted after a few months of pretreatment: the Set D rowans!
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