Sunday, March 21, 2010

Still waiting for spring

Last weekend I decided to move my deciduous trees back outside as the night temperature had been only minus 2-3°C for a few days and the day temperatures a couple of degrees above zero. On this basis I got excited at the prospect that spring was finally coming, but sod's law that very evening the night temperature was then back down to minus 15°C.

Fortunately the trees are placed next to the house so I hope it wasn't too cold for them. All winter they have been in the garage and even on the heater bed I made, which was turned on when the temperature inside the garage got close to minus 10°C, and then in one night I could have undone all of my hard work. Even today the snow is still coming but I hope soon that it will change quickly so I can start to do the repotting jobs that I have planned before the buds start to open.

On most of the trees it is clear that the buds are starting to swell, but the buds on the Amur maple (Acer tataricum ginnala) are not yet showing any signs of swelling.

I hope that it is just too cold for them to start appearing yet and not that the tree has died. I like the look of this trunk and it would be a pity to loose it. This tree was repotted last spring so this year I was planning to cut back the long thicker trucks to develop more smaller brackets. I will do this in the next week in readiness for spring when the energy starts to transfer from the roots back to the brackets for generating the new leaves.

Friday, March 19, 2010

First casualty of the winter

This winter has been a very long and cold one this year and we are still waiting for spring to start, but I must confess that I have already had my first casualty of the winter period. Unfortunately this has nothing to do with the 50cm or more snow or even the -15°C that we have had for most of the winter. No this casualty is one of the trees that has been snuggled up nice and warm inside my house. The Fukien Tea tree (Carmona Microphylla) has decided that this was the time to go. I am unsure of the exact reason but my theory is that the untreated cut, which is common for malsai bonsai, was the start of it's decline.

As normal for this time of year the inside of modern homes are quite dry when there are freezing temperatures outside and this dryness means that there is very little humidity in the air. This, I believe, has resulted in this untreated cut drying out and then slowing working itself down the tree. The leaves from the higher brackets fell from the tree first and the lowest branch was last to loose its leaves.

I have a cutting of the Fukien Tea tree taken a couple of years ago from another tree that also died, but fortunately this is still growing well leading me to believe it died because of the untreated cut and not the dry air during the winter months. If anybody as any other reasons why my Fukien Tea tree died in this way then I would be grateful for the information.