Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More Tales of Survival

My neighbors would probably like me to clean up the debris of dead trees, the result of heavy snows that destroyed one plum tree and two birches. I was about to cut them up for firewood when I saw a couple of flower buds on the "dead" plum. I decided to leave it alone for a while and see how much growth the residual sap would support. The first day i noticed buds, there were probably around a dozen. Today there were hundreds, and many of them were fully bloomed! Now I'm wondering if the remaining pieces of trunk will support the development of fruit. Clean-up will have to wait a while longer. As for the birch, this is a close-up of the one that is leaning at a 45-degree angle and trying to curve back upward, but is so damaged at the base that I'll probably turn it into firewood this fall. Meanwhile, it has a healthy new crop of catkins (male flowers) and quite a few of last year's still clinging to the upper branches. The tree was clearly stressed by this past winter, and, as is typical of trees, will undergo a reproductive frenzy in a last attempt at perpetuating its genes. This is analogous to the oaks' producing an abundance of acorns the season after surviving a ground fire. Native peoples who ate acorns realized this tendency thousands of years ago and did controlled burns in order to enhance their acorn crops.

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