How Are Your Trees Handling the Mild Winter Temperatures? March 16, 2012
We've been blessed with several mild days within the past few months. I have certainly appreciated the additional opportunities I've had to spend some time outdoors, but these constant fluctuating temperatures sure are confusing.
It's difficult for people to adjust to colder temperatures and snow after enjoying a few consecutive days of sunshine and moderate temperatures. But it's also difficult for trees to handle such rapid temperature fluctuations.
While people can seek shelter indoors to fulfill their daily health and nutritional needs, trees aren't so fortunate. They need water, just like us. And, like most of us, they can become stressed. So when the ground freezes over, or when the hot, dry summer climate arrives, drought stress may affect your trees.Read More
Spring ... with a Cherry on Top March 12, 2012
Washington, D.C. is already a gorgeous place with striking architecture like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, as well as the museums and surrounding landscapes. But in spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom around the Tidal Basin, brilliant mounds of white and soft pink completely surround the space like scented clouds. And, like magic, they are instantly multiplied as they are reflected in the pool. Some describe it as "breathtaking" or "a feast for the eyes." Others call it "one of nature's best shows." And, this year, a mild winter means the show might go on a bit early, according to the National Park Service.
If you want to see the cherry blossoms during peak bloom, the Park Service suggests planning your visit between March 24th and March 28th this year. National Park Service horticulturists monitor five distinct stages of bud development to determine peak bloom, which they define as the point when 70 percent of the blossoms are open. Flowers will still be on the trees for several days on either side of peak bloom. If you prefer to see the puffy white blossoms, arrive four to six days before peak bloom, the National Park Service suggests. The floral fireworks will continue after the peak dates as well. But within one to two weeks of peak bloom, the trees will have shed their blossoms and transition to a fresh green color as the leaves come through.
Typically, average peak bloom for D.C.'s cherry trees is April 4, but the mild winter means an earlier bloom this year. Last year's peak bloom happened March 29. Peak bloom in 2010 was March 30. Usually, cherry blossom trees survive for approximately 50 years. But the city still has just more than 100 of the original 3,000 trees given to the city by Japan in 1912. Those original trees are near the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. Thousands of other trees have been replaced or grown from the original trees' genetic line.Read More
Swing Into Spring March 9, 2012
When I was younger, we'd go to my aunt's house every year for a Memorial Day fish fry. I loved playing kickball with my cousins in her side yard, visiting with my family and enjoying all the delicious food and desserts my relatives brought to the party. But, most importantly, I simply enjoyed the opportunity to be outside for the entire day in the crisp, cool air.
What I loved most about my aunt's yard was the abundance of trees in front of the house and along the edges of the property. Each year, I never missed the opportunity to enjoy a few moments in the hammock my aunt placed between two trees on the slight hill behind the house. With the exception of being obligated to take turns with my cousins, I knew I could enjoy those few peaceful moments as I stared into the canopy of the two trees and their neighbors, gently swaying back and forth in the cool breeze.Read More
Not Quaking In Their Roots March 5, 2012
It takes many years to form a forest. But over a longer period of time - 80,000 years, in fact - one special tree, and its several hundred quaking aspen clones, have formed a colony.
And very little has shook it ever since.
The Pando (in Latin: "I spread") is a "clonal colony" of single male quaking aspen, located in the Fishlake National Forest in south central Utah. This 6,615-ton giant is a legend; in fact, its root system is one of the oldest living organisms on Earth. And, as you may imagine, the Pando is the heaviest species in existence.Read More