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the Set D European beeches
Posted on June 13, 2012 by Ash
Get set for the latest update on the development of the two Set A Scots pines, the post-Set A unknown seedling (PSAUS), and the two Set D(b) European beeches! In the intervening two-and-a-half months since the previous Set A update, Scots pine Alpha has produced 2012’s candles, Scots pine Gamma has been struck by pests, and the PSAUS has come fully into leaf. The last Set D(b) update was in October 2011; since then the two beeches have lost their last autumn leaves and regrown a whole new set.
Behold ye fine Scots pine Alpha with this season’s growth so far strikingly manifested as candles sprouting from the tip of every branch. You may perhaps have noticed a skinny foxglove growing through the tree to the right of the stem; this is a self-set which I do not have the heart to pull up. (The tent in the background was there to dry out, having just got back from walking the Rob Roy Way!)
A close-up view from the candles at the very top of my pine. The candles will get even longer and then sprout needles, transforming into ordinary branches.
A close-up of a branch rosette on the sturdy main stem.
Scots pine Gamma, sadly looking nowhere near as perky as Alpha. The candles are barely grown! Why?
This is why – Gamma is under attack from a pest, perhaps some kind of aphid. The poor tree is infested with these tiny, dark grey insects and they are definitely having an adverse effect.
The PSAUS is looking slender but healthy.
Beech Alpha looks great with its fresh, new leaves!
Beech Beta looks lovely too. I can’t wait to see how these two develop this year!
Posted on October 31, 2011 by Ash
Scots pine Alpha.
For the first time since April (!), here’s an update on the progress of the two Set A Scots pines; I took the photos yesterday, 1,677 days or 4 years & 7 months since I planted them as seeds.
Scots pine Gamma.
Well aren’t they both doing well? Absolutely spiffingly, even if I do say so myself.
A closer look at the centrepiece of S.p. Alpha’s highest branch whorl. All of this has grown this year. One whorl a year with Scots pine saplings!
Here’s something novel for you: a bird’s eye view of Scots pine Alpha…
…and Scots pine Gamma. The size difference is just as apparent from above.
The PSAUS. It doesn’t look very healthy here, but that’s because autumn has removed most of its leaves. Its actually doing rather well, but could do with a bigger pot as a matter of some urgency.
The two Set D(b) European beeches are also making their first appearance since April. I planted these as nuts 760 days or 2 years & 1 month ago.
Beech Alpha. This seedling is the offspring of a cut- or fern-leaved beech (Fagus sylvatica var. Aspleniifolia) but it appears not to have inherited the cut-leaf characteristic. Booo!
Beech Beta. This seedling is the offspring of a normal European beech – as you can see it is identical to its nurserymate. Its mother is a fine specimen of a beech – a ‘plus tree’ – so I have high hopes for this fella.
Now for some quantification... The following table shows the approximate heights in centimetres for all five trees, measured yesterday. The heights of the Scots pines and PSAUS as recorded on the 19th of August 2009 are also included, along with respective height growth in the intervening period (expressed as percentages).
Posted on April 20, 2011 by Ash
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 on April 16, 2011 by Ash
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 :
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??)
post-Set A willow
The PSAUS is alive and coming nicely into leaf.
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).
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.
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.
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).]
Posted on June 15, 2010 by Ash
Set A: the Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris)
Scots pine Alpha on Saturday (Day 1172). Look how the next generation of needles have begun to spring out from the new candles!
Here it is again ten days earlier, on Day 1162 (June 2nd); notice how the needles haven’t yet started growing in earnest.
Here’s Scots pine Gamma on Day 1162…
…and here it is ten days later, on Saturday. What a difference! You can check out both pines (and the PSAUS) as they were on Day 1149 in the last Scots pine update.
It’s the cut- or fern-leaved beech on Day 235 (May 23rd). But is it a cut-leaved beech? Its mother certainly is, but look at its leaves…
…they just look like normal European beech leaves (photo taken on Day 245 - June 2nd). Will future leaves be cut-leaved? Here’s the is it / isn’t it situation as I currently read it:
The cut-leaved (?) beech on Saturday (Day 255). I think from now on it’ll have to be called the Alpha beech instead.
This little chap is the Set D(b) European beech – definitely just a bog-standard European beech, albeit the miracle offspring of a magnificent mature tree. I first noticed this seedling, the Beta beech, on the 18th of May (Day 230). Here it is rising above the soil two and three days later.
A few days later (the 26th and 30th of May) and this tiny beech was standing erect.
By the 2nd of June (Day 245) its cotyledons had opened…
…and by Saturday (Day 255) its first pair of proper leaves were forming. Bravo, Beta beech, bravo. The last Set D(b) update has photos of Alpha beech from Days 213 to 228 and the first photos of Beta beech along with the story of the ‘miracle’.
The PSAUS on Saturday.
Photos from May 30th and June 2nd taken by my father.
This month’s short but sweet Festival of the Trees, hosted by Casey of Wandering Owl Outside, has been up for a fortnight. Go read!
Posted on May 18, 2010 by Ash
1. The cut-leaved beech (Days 213 to 228)
The terrific Set D(b) cut-leaved beech on the 1st of May (Day 213)…
…the 11th of May (Day 223)…
…and the 16th of May (Day 228) – Sunday. Here come the first pair of true leaves!
I thought there was no hope, but I replanted it anyway.
(You can see where this is going, right?) Well, my optimism was rewarded! I checked on the treeblog stable this very afternoon (Set D(b) Day 230) and look what miracle awaited me:
Yes!!! The only germinating beechnut collected from the beech at Wigtwizzle has survived!
Oaken Clough rowans Nos. 1 to 4 (O1 to 04).
Rowans O5 to O8.
Rowan O9 and Whitwell Moor rowans Nos. 1 to 3 (W1 to W3).
Rowans W4 to W7.
Photos taken on Sunday (Set D(r) Day 36).
Posted on April 27, 2010 by Ash
The Set D(b) cut-leaved beech has appeared above ground! Here it is on Saturday (Day 206), the first time I’d seen it poking up through the soil. A couple of Saturdays previously I was searching through the Set D beech seed trays when I noticed that this wee tree had sprouted a long root – that was Day 193.
Beech seedlings don’t hang around. Here it is a day later, on Sunday….
…here it is yesterday…
…and here it is this evening. Its cotyledons should open up over the next few days. This is the first beech I’ve ever managed to grow!
As well as discovering this young beech, Saturday also saw me off on a long walk to check up on the recently released Set A grey alders – 1123 days after I planted them as seeds. The good news is that they are all still in situ and doing well. The bad news is that three of them have been munched on by sheep! (I planted Nos. 2 and 3 out in the wild on the 2nd of April (Day 1101); Nos. 1 and 4 were planted out on the 14th of April (Day 1113) – see this post for the details.)
Grey alder No. 1 – this one lives next door to No. 4. Some of the lower branches have been cut back by browsing sheep – I know who the culprits are because they left some wool behind. Nevermind. Those lower branches wouldn’t be kept by the tree for long anyway, and I’d already given thought to pruning them off.
Grey alder No. 2 – this one lives next door to No. 3. No. 2 is the only one of the alders to remain unscathed by sheep.
Here’re some of No. 2’s brand spanking new leaves (all of the alders have them now!). They’re perfect.
Grey alder No. 3. (Sorry about the photos of the alders – I couldn’t get any good ones with their superb camouflage for blending in with the background).
Here’s the tip of one of No. 3’s branches after being nibbled down to size by an ovine fiend. Disgraceful.
Grey alder No. 4 – leading the competition in the leaf department.
Taken back home in the garden on Saturday evening, this photo shows how another Set A tree – Scots pine Alpha – has begun expanding its buds. These little brown columns are lengthening noticeably with each passing day; soon they will be great, long candles. Then it won’t be long until they blast out 2010’s needles!
Set C(r) rowans transplanted. Six rowan tricots. Set D rowans planted. The fate of the Set D beeches and sweet chestnuts.
Posted on April 12, 2010 by Ash
The transplanted Set C(r) rowans (Sorbus aucuparia) yesterday, minus the tricots.
Yesterday was a busy day for treeblog…
The first five Upper Midhope rowan seedlings, U1 to U5, en route to the plug tray.
The plug tray as a bird would see it. May they live long and prosper.
The first five tricots, WT1 to WT5, en route to their plug tray.
A closer look at WT1…
…and WT2 and WT3 and WT4 and WT5. Marvellous.
The germinated Oaken Clough seedlings, freshly removed from the pretreatment plant pot and ready for planting.
F1: one germinating cut-leaved beech nut. Yes!!!
These three germinated beechnuts I planted in pots. The damaged beech will just shrivel and die; it has expended all of its energy on a root that is now not there. The cut-leaved beech trapped in the cupule will probably die from being unable to escape its prison. Now all of treeblog’s beech hopes and dreams rest on the shoulders of one cut-leaved beech. No pressure or anything.
Posted on 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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