Set A grey alders update (Feb/March 2011)

I recently made a couple of trips with my father to the four grey alders (Alnus incana) in treeblog’s Set A. We visited Nos. 2 & 3 four weeks ago on the 12th of February (Day 1417) and Nos. 1 & 4 yesterday, the 12th of March (Day 1445). (I last visited them in September.)

Grey alder No. 1 on a gloomy, overcast Saturday afternoon.

It’s buds aren’t yet showing any signs of opening.

Here’s the base of No. 1’s trunk with its herbivore-inflicted wounds. I’m very worried by the absence of callus wood around these. The tree had most of last summer to start sealing these wounds – Nos. 2 & 3 have made good progress, so why hasn’t No. 1?

At a different time and location, here’s grey alder No. 2.

Here’s an old wound and the associated callus wood.

Again no sign of flushing, but this photo is a month old now.

Just a stone’s throw away stands grey alder No. 3: the best of the alders at present.

More callus wood growing around the sheep damage to its stem. This is what No. 1’s stem should be looking like.

And lastly, grey alder No. 4 (close to No. 1). I feared this would happen - grey alder No. 4 is dead.

As you can see, the bark is easily detached from the stem.

I’m really sad that No. 4 has died. For a few years this tree was much bigger than the other three alders. I fully expected it to grow into a superb tree and was looking forward to seeing it reach maturity. What a shame its life has come to a premature end.

This was No. 4 in better days, back in August 2009.

I planted all four of these alders as seeds on the 28th of March 2007 (the seeds I collected myself a few weeks earlier). I planted Nos. 2 & 3 out in the wild on the 2nd of April 2010; Nos. 1 & 4 were planted out a fortnight later on the 14th. The fourth and first anniversaries respectively of these dates are approaching but grey alder No. 4 won’t be around to witness them, and that’s a real shame.

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