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the Set A cider gums

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treeblog update: Set A Scots pines & cider gum; PSAUS; Set D(b) beeches

As a follow-up to Saturday’s treeblog census, here’s an update on the two Set A Scots pines, the sole remaining Set A cider gum, the PSAUS, and the two Set D(b) European beeches. I took the photos yesterday (Set A Day 1,483 / Set D(b) Day 566).

Scots pine Alpha, tied to a cane for straightening treatment. Last seen (along with SP Gamma, PSAUS & the beeches) on treeblog last June looking decidedly smaller. It’s now gearing up for this year’s growth spurt…

Behold! - new candles on the top of Alpha. They will develop into the third whorl of branches.

Scots pine Gamma. Only half the size of Alpha, but still looking good.

Cider gum No. 14 (last seen on treeblog in May, looking much better) – the only cider gum to survive the harsh winter of 2010/2011. It isn’t in good shape.

The top of No. 14 is the only part with any vitality. New growth has been put on here already this year.

The PSAUS a.ka. the post-Set A unknown seedling a.k.a. the post-Set A willow. I think it’s probably a goat willow.

Admire those tender, young, willowy leaves.

treeblog’s only cut- or fern-leaved beech* a.k.a. the Alpha beech [*may just be an ordinary old European beech]. Still bare, but beech is always one of the last trees into leaf along with ash and oak. Those buds surely can’t be far from bursting now.

The Beta beech a.k.a. the only beech that grew from the nuts I collected at Wigtwizzle in 2009. Definitely just an ordinary European beech, but it has one hell of a parent!

And look - its cotyledons are still attached!


Posted in The treeblog trees





treeblog census: April 2011

I’m afraid I have been rather lax of late in sticking to this blog’s original purpose of charting the development of the treeblog trees. There have been some pretty important developments over the winter, yet I’ve hardly mentioned a thing. I badly needed to turn over a new leaf, so I have carried out a full census of the trees to provide a snapshot overview of the treeblog population as it is today. It may send you to sleep. Here goes :

Set A
Set A was planted on the 28th of March 2007 (1,480 days ago)

The two Scots pines (Alpha & Gamma) are alive and well. They last appeared in an update in June. (Nearly a whole year ago?? Can that be right??)

Of the four grey alders, No. 4 is now dead but Nos. 1, 2 & 3 were alive the last time I saw them (I last visited Nos. 1 & 4 on the 12th of March and Nos. 2 & 3 on the 12th of February). They last appeared in an update last month.

In the last cider gum update (in May 2010!!), Nos. 1 & 15 were reported dead, but Nos. 2 – 14 were all alive. Alas, after the very harsh winter of 2010/2011, only one cider gum now remains alive: No. 14. Terrible news!

post-Set A willow

The PSAUS is alive and coming nicely into leaf.

Set C
Set C was planted on the 11th of March 2009 (766 days ago)

Fifteen of the downy birches are alive and coming into leaf: Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27 & 30. Since the last update in August, No. 28 has gone missing from its pot (possibly squirrel-related).

Set C(r)
Set C(r) was planted/replanted on the 12th of May 2009 (704 days ago)

I’ve cocked up big-time with the Set C(r) rowans. At the end of June I planted the nineteen ‘Whitwell Moor’ seedlings (Nos. W1 – W15 & W17 – W20) and twenty ‘Upper Midhope’ seedlings (Nos. U1 – U20) out in individual pots. Each seedling was identified with a little flag made out of sellotape and a cocktail stick. Disastrously, during the winter many of the cocktails sticks have rotted through and these flags have blown away. Which means I have a large number of seedlings that could have come from either the Whitwell Moor rowan or the Upper Midhope rowan. Which kind of defeats the object. I think these identity-less rowans will have to be released from under the treeblog umbrella. The remaining identifiable Set C(r) rowans are Nos. W2, W6, W7, W11, W12, W14, W15, W17, W18, W19, U2, U5, U7 & U14: ten Whitwell Moors and four Upper Midhopes. Doh! I think the Upper Midhope population will have to be topped up from the reserves still in the seed tray.

Also - the five Whitwell Moor tricot rowans (Nos. WT1 – WT5) are all alive, but they are still in the plug tray. They need putting in pots.

The Whitwell Moor rowans last appeared in an update in September; the Upper Midhope rowans appeared in a separate update at the same time. The tricots haven’t appeared in an update since May!

Set D(b)
Set D(b) was planted on the 30th of September 2009 (563 days ago)

Both the single normal beech and the single cut- or fern-leaved beech remain alive and well. They last appeared in an update in June.

Set D(r)
Set D(r) was planted/replanted on the 11th of April 2010 (371 days ago)

In the last update in May, there were nine Oaken Clough rowan seedlings (O1 – O9) and seven Whitwell Moor rowan seedlings (W1 – W7). Today all nine Oaken Clough seedlings are alive, but two of the Whitwell Moor seedlings have died (W3 & W4). There are plenty of reserves still in the seed trays, so these populations can be topped up.


* * * * *

OK… I think I’ve cleared all that up as best I can. Here’s a quick summary of what is currently alive and accounted for in the treeblog stables then: 3 grey alders (Alnus incana); 2 Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris); 1 cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii); 15 downy birches (Betula pubescens); 33 rowans (Sorbus aucuparia); & 2 European beeches (Fagus sylvatica)… which gives a grand total of 56 trees spread over 6 different species. [Plus the honorary treeblog tree, the PSAUS, which is a willow - possibly a goat willow (Salix caprea).]

This number will be bumped up when I draw on the rowan reserves, but as you may have noticed I haven’t planted a Set E this year. Maybe next year? Right now I’m going to try and photograph all of these trees and bring the series of updates bang up to date. It’s about time!


Posted in The treeblog trees





Set A cider gums update (Day 1149): Nos. 8 to 15

(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:

Cider gum No. 15 (2007 – 2010)


* * * * *

I’m off up to Scotland this afternoon to do the Skye Trail. No posts for a week!


Posted in The treeblog trees





Set A cider gums update (Day 1149): Nos. 1 to 7

(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. 1 (2007 – 2010)… this is Goodbye


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 in The treeblog trees





treeblog update (Set A, Day 1102): cider gums. Set C(r) rowans are sprouting!

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 in The treeblog trees





Third Anniversary of the planting of treeblog's Set A. treeblog update (Set A, Day 1096): Scots pines & grey alders.

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.

To represent Pinus sylvestris, here’s Scots pine Alpha:

Day 0 - 28 March 2007

Day 47 - 14 May 2007

Day 55 - 22 May 2007

Day 62 - 29 May 2007

Day 95 - 1 July 2007

Day 154 - 29 August 2007

Day 409 - 10 May 2008

Day 432 - 2 June 2008

Day 458 - 28 June 2008

Day 515 - 24 August 2008

Day 605 - 22 Nov 2008

Day 731 - 28 March 2009

Day 782 - 18 May 2009

Day 822 - 27 June 2009


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 0 - 28 March 2007

Day 47 - 14 May 2007 (unknown g.a.)

Day 62 - 29 May 2007 (unknown g.a.)

Day 74 - 10 June 2007

Day 95 - 1 July 2007

Day 154 - 29 August 2007


Day 196 - 10 October 2007

Day 264 - 17 December 2007

Day 409 - 10 May 2008

Day 432 - 2 June 2008

Day 515 - 24 August 2008

Day 731 - 28 March 2009

Day 754 - 28 April 2009

Day 781 - 17 May 2009


Day 822 - 27 June 2009

Day 875 - 19 August 2009


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):

Day 0 - 28 March 2007

Day 47 - 14 May 2007 (unknown c.g.)

Day 62 - 29 May 2007 (unknown c.g.)

Day 81 - 17 June 2007 (c.g. No. 1)

Day 130 - 5 August 2007

Day 196 - 10 October 2007

Day 397 - 28 April 2008

Day 432 - 2 June 2008

Day 480 - 20 July 2008

Day 497 - 6 August 2008

Day 558 - 6 October 2008

Day 731 - 28 March 2009

Day 785 - 21 May 2009

Day 876 - 20 August 2009


(More on the cider gums in the forthcoming update.)


These have been the first photos of the Set A trees on treeblog since August last year! That is a pretty poor show on my part, but to be honest the growing season had near enough ended by then so the trees have changed little in the intervening period. Well, the alders lost their leaves, but deciduous trees have a habit of doing that.

The Scots pines are doing well. So are the alders, but they have outgrown the garden and need to be planted somewhere asap before the growing season is upon us. Where though? Some of the cider gums have been damaged by frost, and some of them need larger pots. Nos. 6 and 15 look to have been killed off by the frost, but I said that about Nos. 3 and 15 last year but they bounced back. And the post-Set A unknown seedling, now thought to be a goat willow? How’s that doing?

The Artist Formerly Known As PSAUS.
It’s doing just fine.


Posted in The treeblog trees





First signs of spring: alder and hazel catkins. A brief update on the treeblog trees.

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.


Set A

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.


Set C

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.


Set D

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 in Gone for a walk + The treeblog trees





treeblog update (Set A, Day 876): cider gums Nos. 9 to 15

The latest cider gum update continues… Photos taken on Day 876 / 20th of August.

Cider gum No. 9.

Cider gum No. 10.

Cider gum No. 11. The flimsy waver.

Cider gum No. 12. Joint second-tallest cider gum with No. 2.

Cider gum No. 13.

Cider gum No. 14. The very young flowerer.

Cider gum No. 15. Like No. 3, this gum was feared dead after a powerful hoar frost last winter. Look at those new shoots either side of the old dead leader and weep in awe at its determination to get really big.


* * * * *

I found a brilliant video over at trees, if you please last week: The Lorax, by Dr. Suess. It’s the animated version of the book from the early Seventies, and while quite long at 25 minutes I really can’t recommend enough that you go and watch it if you haven’t seen it before. Karen at trees, if you please enthuses: “One of the best ‘tree books’ EVER is a children’s book. But it’s not really a children’s book… one of the most lovable tree advocates I’ve ever come across happens to be a little guy straight from the brain of Dr. Seuss… our friend, The Lorax.” It is simply an absolutely, brilliantly, amazingly clever little film.


Posted in The treeblog trees





treeblog update (Set A, Day 876): cider gums Nos. 1 to 8

Everybody loves a good graph. This one ranks the heights of all twenty-one treeblog Set A trees plus the post-Set A goat willow as they were on the 20th of August / Day 876 (cider gums) and the 19th of August / Day 875 (the rest). The lighter section of each bar represents the previous height of each tree, as recorded on the 1st of July / Day 826 (cider gums) and the 27th of June / Day 822 (the rest), so the darker top sections represent height growth in the intervening period. As always, you can access a larger version of the image by clicking on it.

As you can see, the grey alders are now by far and away the tallest trees in Set A. Even the shortest alder, No. 2., is almost half a metre taller at 150 cm than the next highest tree, cider gum No. 7, at 110 cm. Since the end of June, the Scots pines have barely put on any height growth (probably just needle lengthening, actually). Scots pine Gamma is now only taller than the three cider gum runts, Nos. 3, 6 and 15. (Cider gum No. 3 is shown to be 9 cm tall but if its dead top is not counted, its living parts are only 4 cm tall. Runty!) The cider gums have all put on a bit of height growth in the last two months, but the growth of the grey alders has been phenomenal! No. 2 more than doubled in height, No. 1 almost doubled… and No. 1 came from being the third tallest alder at the end of June to being the tallest alder today. Perhaps if grey alder No. 3’s top hadn’t been chewed off by the mystery alder attacker, causing it to fork, it would be even taller than No. 1 is today…

If you need to do a bit more obsessing over heights, you can go back and have a look at the similar graph I made for the June 27 / July 1 heights in this post. Otherwise, let’s fire up the cider gum update! Photos taken on Thursday the 20th (Day 876).

Cider gum No. 1.

Cider gum No. 2.

Cider gum No. 3. It continues to recover from its frosty near-death experience, but will it be able to survive the upcoming winter?

Cider gum No. 4.

Cider gum No. 5.

Cider gum No. 6. Looks to be suffering from some kind of black mould on some of its leaves, but its health doesn’t seem to be affected.

Cider gum No. 7. The tallest of all the cider gums, and the fifth tallest of all the treeblog trees.

Cider gum No. 8.


Posted in The treeblog trees





treeblog update (Set A, Day 875): Scots pines (& grey alders). Eggs & caterpillars. Eucalyptus flowers.

Scots pine Alpha earlier today (Day 875).

Scots pine Gamma.

A bit of an eclectic post is this one, gang! First of all there’s a bit of a treeblog Set A update, but only for the two Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris), the post-Set A goat willow (Salix caprea - formerly the PSAUS), and one of the grey alders (Alnus incana). Normally I’d lump the pines, willow and all the alders together but I haven’t been able to this time because the grey alders are too big. I like to have a nice, clear background on these update photos y’see, and for most of the Set A trees I have a piece of plywood that’s perfect for the job. This summer the grey alders have outgrown it by quite a ways. I had a background trick up my sleeve for the last Scots pine & grey alder update (27th June – Day 822) though: I hung a grey blanket from the washing line. But in the intervening one-and-a-half months (sorry for the wait) the alders have rocketed up and are now so big that even my double-bed sheet hung from the line is too small to make do! What I tried for a background this time around – a wall of conifer – has proved so useless I’ve only bothered putting up one of the photos. A green alder against green conifer scales. It doesn’t exactly stand out from the background…

Grey alder No. 1 (with decreased brightness and increased contrast). Well camouflaged, eh?

Ohhh, by the way, I got out the tape measure and took some heights. I did the same when I did the last update, so now we know how much the trees grown in the last 53 days:

Scots pine Alpha: 27 Jun: 48 cm  //  19 Aug: 50 cm  //  Difference: 2 cm.
Scots pine Gamma: 27 Jun: 27 cm  //  19 Aug: 30 cm  //  Difference: 3 cm.
Grey alder No. 1: 27 Jun: 105 cm  //  19 Aug: 196 cm  //  Difference: 91 cm.
Grey alder No. 2: 27 Jun: 71 cm  //  19 Aug: 150 cm  //  Difference: 79 cm.
Grey alder No. 3: 27 Jun: 109 cm  //  19 Aug: 170 cm  //  Difference: 61 cm.
Grey alder No. 4: 27 Jun: 120 cm  //  19 Aug: 186 cm  //  Difference: 66 cm.
Post-Set A goat willow: 27 Jun: 25 cm  //  19 Aug: 33 cm  //  Difference: 8 cm.

That’s right! Grey alder No. 4 has lost its status as treeblog Champion to grey alder No. 1!!! Sensational!!! Grey alder No. 4 (the Beast) has been the tallest treeblog tree since early June 2007, when it took the crown from Scots pine Alpha. Other changes in the last month and half include grey alder No. 1 nearly doubling in height and grey alder No. 2 more than doubling in height! Some of my trees, that I planted two-and-a-half years ago, are now taller than me!

The post-Set A goat willow. See that bit of yellow on the uppermost leaf on the right-hand branch of the fork?

It looks like some kind of nasty fungus that is killing the leaf and the terminal leaf bud. I think the same thing may have happened last autumn which caused the seedling to fork. Will this branch end up forking again? Why is this happening? Is it something young willows are prone to?

Back to grey alder No. 1. On the underside of one of its leaves, this strange caterpillar that looks a bit like it’s covered in tiny flakes of coconut (like those you get on Tunnock’s Snowballs). No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the bugger in focus, but I think it’s clear enough for someone out there to make an ID. Anyone?

That was today. I photographed this patch of eggs on one of the alders’ leaves on the 9th of August just as tiny-weeny caterpillars were hatching out.

These insect eggs were spotted on Scots pine Alpha the same day. I don’t know what was in them, but they have all hatched and a new batch has been laid since.

Cider gum No. 14’s flower buds still haven’t opened. Here they are on the 9th, and they look pretty much the same today.

When I was up in the Highlands for the first week of August, the cottage we stayed in had a young eucalyptus (about ten to fifteen foot tall) growing in the garden. This is one of its flowers. I don’t know what kind of eucalyptus it was, but it’s quite possible it was a cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii) like mine.


Posted in The treeblog trees





Cider gum No. 14 on the verge of flowering at age two!


I was moving the treeblog trees out of the way earlier today to make room for lawn mowage, when to my great surprise and delight I noticed flower buds on cider gum No. 14 (not No. 11 as originally reported)! How No. 14 has managed to do this at the tender age of two years old, when it is about as tall as my knee, I have no idea. But this is exciting stuff! Second generation treeblog seedlings in 2010?

Cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii) flower buds on No. 14, which was planted as part of Set A 856 days ago on the 28th of March 2007.


* * * * *

In other Set A news, Scots pine Alpha and cider gum No. 13 are now being stabilised by canes after being blown askew during recent stormy weather. Two or three of the other cider gums also need realigning but I’m all out of canes. Photographic updates of all the Set A and Set C trees will be appearing after next weekend – until then I’m going to be internetless in the Highlands. Speaking of Set C, the downy birch seedlings aren’t looking very healthy these days. I wonder what’s up?


* * * * *

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Posted in The treeblog trees





treeblog update (Set A, Day 826): cider gums Nos. 8 to 15

Continuing on from Wednesday’s post (cider gums Nos. 1 to 7), here’s the rest of the Eucalyptus gunnii update. The photos were taken on Wednesday – Set A Day 826.

Cider gum No. 8.

Cider gum No. 9.

Cider gum No. 10.

Cider gum No. 11: now growing more horizontally than vertically. Why? Its original leader has died off, probably thanks to winter frosts.

A closer look at No. 11’s dead leader. Poor thing.

Cider gum No. 12: the second-tallest gum, and all-round good bean.

Cider gum No. 13: one half of last year’s famed Branching Duo. The other half was…

Cider gum No. 14.

Cider gum No. 15: one of the three cider gum runts, and after No. 3 the worst-affected of the gums by frost damage. Another one with a dead leader (forking ahoy).


* * * * *

Coming soon… a Set C birch update!


Posted in The treeblog trees





treeblog update (Set A, Day 826): cider gums Nos. 1 to 7

Hot on the heels of the grey alder & Scots pine update (Day 822) comes the first half of the cider gum update of Day 826 – that’s today. But before that, have a gander at this graph that I’ve concocted:

The heights of all the Set A trees (and the PSAUS goat willow) relative to one another, laid out in ascending order. Each bar represents a tree; the colour of the bar denotes the species and the number above the bar identifies the tree (where P = PSAUS, α = alpha, & γ = gamma). The actual heights of the trees are given in centimetres under each bar. The bar representing cider gum No. 3 is in two colours: the lower segment represents the height of the living part of the seedling; the two segments together represent the total height of the seedling including dead parts.

As you can see, the three smallest trees are the three cider gum runts: Nos. 3, 6 and 15 (8 cm, 9 cm* and 22 cm respectively). The tallest three trees are the big grey alders: Nos. 1, 3 and 4. Grey alder No. 4, the Beast, remains the tallest of all the treeblog trees at 120 cm. The tallest cider gum is No. 7 at 97 cm, almost twenty centimetres taller than the second-tallest gum, No. 12. Scots pine Alpha (48 cm) comes in around the middle of the cider gum range, while Scots pine Gamma (27 cm) only manages to be taller than the cider gum runts and the PSAUS goat willow (25 cm).
* Only 6 cm if the dead upper parts are not included in the measurement.

After that fascinating digression, back to the update proper!

Cider gum No. 1.

Cider gum No. 2.

Cider gum No. 3, arisen from the grave. The white arrow points to a minute leaf that has recently developed. This is just below the limit of the living tissue at a height of 6 cm. The vast majority of the new growth is much closer to the base, and is shown in close-up in the photo below:

Phoenix-growth!

Cider gum No. 4: distressingly wonky at the top.

Cider gum No. 5: nicely symmetrical.

Cider gum No. 6: the only one of the runts realistically capable of achieving non-runt status.

Cider gum No. 7: the tallest of the gums (Top Gum). The photo looks a little stretched or skewed because of the downwards-looking angle I had to take the photo at to get the whole tree against the background-board.


* * * * *

July’s Festival of the Trees – the 37th edition! – is online at TGAW. I haven’t had time to give it more than a perfunctory glance so far but it looks like Vicky has put together a great version. Go read!


Posted in The treeblog trees





PSAW (formerly PSAUS) scrutinised

Here by request, photographs of the delectable post-Set A willow (PSAW (previously PSAUS)), with a view to finally ascertaining precisely to which species it belongs. As always, larger photos (1024 x 768 px) are available by clicking on an image, then clicking the ALL SIZES button on the Flickr page. All of the photos were taken on Thursday, apart from the one showing the underside of a leaf, which was taken yesterday.

The upper surface of a typical leaf.

The underside of a typical leaf.


That was Salix ???. Now take a look at Eucalyptus gunnii No. 3:

Cider gum No. 3 (Set A, Day 792) is most definitely alive – look at that new growth! Great joy!

In other treeblog news, yesterday (Set C, Day 79 / Set C(r), Day 17) saw the appearance of three seedlings in the sweet chestnut seed trays (Nos. 18 to 20) and three seedlings in the ‘Whitwell Moor’ rowan tray (Nos. 6 to 8). There is some bad news regarding the grey alders: the previously untouched alder No. 2 has now had one stem bitten through – this injury is the same as those myriad afflictions of alder No. 4, who now looks rather terrible. Many of its stems and petioles have been severed, and now many of its leaves are covered with brown dead patches (perhaps caused by repeated applications of pesticide aimed to prevent further damage – wouldn’t that be ironic? Either way, seeing as how it appears to have had no effect, I’ve stopped the spraying of pesticide.) Alders Nos. 1 and 3 are still untouched, thankfully, and are the very picture of health. I have also taken delivery of four very large (35 litre) pots, so I’ll be repotting the grey alders very soon.


Posted in The treeblog trees





treeblog update (Set A, Day 785): cider gums (Part 2)

Continuing on from yesterday’s Part 1, let us now review the seven cider gums that remain. All of the Set A cider gums and Scots pines, with the exception of cider gum No. 3, have now been repotted. The new muck in which they now find themselves is composed roughly of two parts compost, one part sand. All of the repottings were carried out with regular peat-free compost, apart from those of cider gums Nos. 5, 8, 9 and 10. After running out of the ordinary stuff, for these four I used a different kind of compost, a new compost, a compost different to what I’ve ever seen before… It’s really light and springy and full of little bits of wood, or what the manufacturers call ‘west+’. From the bag:

West+ is a sustainable high performance peat replacement ingredient which delivers exceptional growing results. It is unique and is a patented technology which is produced from natural wood fibre taken from trees grown in forests managed in accordance with the FSC [Forest Stewardship Council] scheme.

West+ Multi-Purpose Compost is a mix of 50% peat/compost with 50% west+, a first in growing media. This mix produces a unique look and texture when compared to standard multi-purpose composts. It offers a consistently high quality growing medium that helps reduce the impact on the environment.

Look at all that wood fibre (I mean west+). But enough about compost, let’s see some eucalypts, specifically Eucalyptus gunnii !


In large pots (repotted with west+ the day before yesterday):

Cider gum No. 5.

Cider gum No. 8.

Cider gum No. 9.

Cider gum No. 10.


In small orange pots (repotted the day before yesterday):

Cider gum No. 6, one of the three runts. The blackened parts of its leaves were damaged by frost. The top couple of leaf pairs are this year’s new growth.

Cider gum No. 15. Also a runt, and also severely damaged by frost last winter. It may not look pretty, but there is new growth spouting from several leaf axils. The prognosis is good.

Prior to rehoming, this is what No. 15 had to share a pot with: a mass of moss. No. 6 had a pot full of moss too.


The unrepotted one:

No. 3 has the most interesting story of all the cider gums. It was marked to be a special one early doors and was affectionately nicknamed the Freak. Later it looked to have abandoned its freakish ways, only to be stuck down by winter’s fiercest frost (or perhaps the snow of February):

Cider gum No. 3 in the grip of the hoar frost on New Year’s Eve 2008.

The winter had no ill-effect on the Scots pines or grey alders, but it damaged almost all of the cider gums; I thought it had killed the Freak and its fellow runt No. 15. I was clearly wrong about the latter, which was showing new buds by early April, but was I wrong about the former? I think I might have been. Look at the photos below, which show a tiny branch low down No. 3’s main stem as it was on the 20th of April (Day 754) and the 21st of May (Day 785).

I think there is new growth around the branch axil and its corresponding point on the opposite side of the main stem!


Posted in The treeblog trees





treeblog update (Set A, Day 785): cider gums (Part 1)

Yesterday (Set A, Day 785) was the first day in what seems like forever to have a decent sunny spell. After on-off rain in the morning and early afternoon, by three o’clock the sun had come out and the rest of the day was dry. After the old proverb, I made hay while the sun shone. I not only photographed the whole cider gum ensemble, but I also repotted Nos. 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 15, and the PSAUS. That’s a lot of repotting!

The five cider gums repotted ten days ago (Nos. 2, 7, 12, 13 and 14) all moved up to big orange pots. I only had one of those left today, and that went to lucky No. 9. Nos. 5, 8 and 10, which along with No. 9 were the best cider gums left in the small orange pots, also made it into big pots – big black ones (the same type are currently holding the Scots pines and grey alders). These big black pots are shallower than the big orange pots, but they have a greater width. That was me all out of big pots, so Nos. 1, 4 and 11 were repotted into black pots of a size midway between the big pots and the small orange pots they were calling home. Nos. 6 and 15 I repotted from their super-small square black pots, which they had occupied since the 23rd of June and the 9th of July 2007 respectively, into just-vacated small orange pots. I also repotted the PSAUS into one of the small orange pots, although it wasn’t much of an upgrade from its previous quarters. On account of its apparent death, cider gum No. 3 didn’t warrant a repot. It stays in the super-small square black pot it has occupied since the 5th of June 2007.

Have all those pots confused you? Don’t worry about it. Best crack on with this treeblog update.

In large orange pots (repotted ten days ago):

Cider gum No. 2.

Cider gum No. 7. The tallest of the gums.

Cider gum No. 12.

Cider gum No. 13.

Cider gum No. 14.


In medium-sized black pots (repotted yesterday):

Cider gum No. 1. A bit of a spindly mess.

Cider gum No. 4, the Kinkster. Check out that kink halfway up the stem! The soil surface in its old pot was rank with mosses.

Cider gum No. 11. Another spindly mess.


This update continues in Part 2. Still half of the gums to go!


Posted in The treeblog trees





A few developments from Sets A & C

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.

* * * * *

The next edition of the Festival of the Trees will be hosted by Orchards Forever from the 1st of May; the theme is trees in bloom. Don’t forget to submit.

* * * * *

Saturday 25th April – Monday 4th May
The sculptures of three fine art students – Elizabeth Green, Fran Morris and Lizzie Latham – will be on display at the Cradle outdoor art exhibition in Bournemouth Lower Gardens. Their work has the common theme of using trees as the setting for their sculptures. Click here for more information.


Posted in The treeblog trees





treeblog update (Set A, Day 741): cider gums

Grey alders: check. Scots pines: check. Cider gums: coming right up sir. Two by two sir, just like Noah’s menagerie.

The last cider gum update (2nd March - Day 704) was ordered so that gums of a similar size were displayed in pairs. For this update, I’ve paired the cider gums in numerical order (excepting the three runts, Nos. 3, 6 and 15, which appear on their own). Thus Nos. 1 & 2, Nos. 4 & 5, Nos. 7 & 8, Nos. 9 & 10, Nos. 11 & 12, and Nos. 13 & 14. This arbitrary* arrangement makes for some interesting height discrepancies that I think give a better impression of the actual range of sizes within the cider gums.

* Not entirely. Nos. 1 - 3 germinated before Nos. 4 - 9 which germinated before Nos. 10 - 15 (the first, second and third wave respectively).

Next time I’ll just get a tape measure on the job. Photos taken on Tuesday (741 days since planting).

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.

* * * * *

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 in The treeblog trees





Second Anniversary of the planting of treeblog's Set A

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 Pinus sylvestris, here’s Scots pine Alpha:

Day 0 - 28 March 2007

Day 47 - 14 May 2007

Day 55 - 22 May 2007

Day 62 - 29 May 2007

Day 95 - 1 July 2007

Day 154 - 29 August 2007

Day 409 - 10 May 2008

Day 432 - 2 June 2008

Day 458 - 28 June 2008

Day 515 - 24 August 2008

Day 605 - 22 Nov 2008

Day 731 - 28 March 2009



Representing Alnus incana, here’s grey alder No. 4:

Day 0 - 28 March 2007

Day 47 - 14 May 2007 (unknown g.a.)

Day 62 - 29 May 2007 (unknown g.a.)

Day 74 - 10 June 2007

Day 95 - 1 July 2007

Day 154 - 29 August 2007


Day 196 - 10 October 2007

Day 264 - 17 December 2007

Day 409 - 10 May 2008

Day 432 - 2 June 2008

Day 515 - 24 August 2008

Day 731 - 28 March 2009



Representing Eucalyptus gunnii, here’s cider gum No. 7 (getting by with a little help from its friends):

Day 0 - 28 March 2007

Day 47 - 14 May 2007 (unknown c.g.)

Day 62 - 29 May 2007 (unknown c.g.)

Day 81 - 17 June 2007 (c.g. No. 1)

Day 130 - 5 August 2007

Day 196 - 10 October 2007

Day 397 - 28 April 2008

Day 432 - 2 June 2008

Day 480 - 20 July 2008

Day 497 - 6 August 2008

Day 558 - 6 October 2008

Day 731 - 28 March 2009


Pretty nifty, eh? And just think: a year from now you could be looking back on three years of Set A!

* * * * *

Set C update – Day 17 (today): No sign of germination yet.


Posted in The treeblog trees





treeblog update (Set A, Day 704): cider gums

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.

The grey alders (deciduous), Scots pines (evergreen), and the post-Set A unknown seedling (deciduous) have made it thus far through winter unscathed by these hardships. The cider gums haven’t been as fortunate. With the possible exception of Nos. 1 and 12, all of them have been frost damaged to some extent. I made notes of the damage yesterday when I took the photos, and I’ll fill you in on a tree by tree basis:

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…

On a more positive note, the thirty-third edition of the Festival of the Trees has arrived at local ecologist. Go read!


Posted in The treeblog trees





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