How Does a Tree Heal

A tree forms callous tissue to cover wounds.  How quickly a tree heals depends on the size of the wound and where it’s cut.

The Sugar Maple cross-section at the top of this post shows a well healed wound.  You can see the cut and the callous tissue that closed the wound.

Below is the same wound from the outside.

Maple Tree Scar Tissue

This Choke Cherry stump grew around suckers cut years before.  I can’t say the tree was ‘healing’ but the picture demonstrates how a tree envelops objects.

Cherry Tree Embedded Growth

In elementary school we’re taught to count a trees rings to learn the trees age.  Growth rings also give us a clue to a trees health.

The growth rings on this White Oak are very close for many years.  There may have been a drought, lighting strike or a pest attacking the tree.

Narrow Growth Rings

The rings are so close because the tree was healing from pruning and lost a lot of its canopy causing stunted growth.

The Three Cut Method of Pruning

When splitting wood I see all kinds of neat things demonstrating how trees grow.  The video below showcases healed wounds and shows the three cut method for pruning trees.

If you just want to learn about the three cut method skip to the second half of the video.

Common Witch Hazel – Late Fall Bloom

Common Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is an underappreciated small tree.  It blends into the background most of the year until late Fall when in bloom.  How many other trees are in bloom in early December?

Common Witch Hazel Flower Closeup - Hamamelis virginiana
A closeup of Common Witch Hazel blooms. I took this picture on a cold and wet December morning with sleet on the ground from the previous night’s storm.

Where to Plant Common Witch Hazel

Don’t use Common Witch Hazel in your foundation planting.  It’s informal habit won’t work with modern homes.  If you live in a rustic log cabin nestled in the woods I say, “Go for it!”

Plant this large shrub on the edge of the woods where it can blend in most of the year and give late Fall interest.

Common Witch Hazel Tree - Hamamelis virginiana
I planted my Common Witch Hazel at the back of my shrub border. You don’t notice it until late November to early December.

For more information visit the Missouri Botanical Garden website.

Jack Frost Exceedingly Bad Day

Yesterday we had snow, then rain, then ice and then snow again.  When I woke this morning it was a frigid 26 degrees.

You’d think I’d be used to spring snow.  I’ve lived in southern New England all my life where the weather is anything but predictable.

I’m not.

Every time Jack Frost lays waste to the landscape I’m surprised.  Yesterday Jack was having an exceedingly bad day.

While the pictures below show plants at their worst I assure you they’ll be fine.  In a few day they’ll look as good as when it was in the sixties last week.

Hellebore (Helleborus sp.) sent to Hell
Hellebore (Helleborus sp.) thrives in weather like this. In a few days you won’t know the plant was under half an inch of ice and snow.
Japanese Cornel Dogwood (Cornus officinalis) on Ice
Can you can see the layer of ice on this Japanese Cornel Dogwood (Cornus officinalis)?
Pansy (Viola sp.) Covered in Ice
This pansy is in for a rough couple weeks. Most of the foliage will turn brown and die.  Growth deep inside the plant will survive.  It’s going to take time.  I should have brought the plant inside BEFORE the cold weather arrived.
Daffodils (Narcissus sp.) Laid to Waste
These poor Daffodils (Narcissus sp.) were laid out on the lawn. I can’t say the flowers will look as good as they did before the snow. However, they will right themselves and shine again in a few days.
Tailgatecicles
Mr. Science Guy how does water run and freeze at the same time?
Icy on the Outside Warm on the Inside
The first thing I did this morning was get wood to build a fire. The twine holding the tarp is surrounded by thick ice.

What’s the weather like where you live?

Random Acts of Kindness

There are good people in this world.

This morning I stopped at McDonald’s to pick up breakfast. I was short 85 cents and asked for a moment to go to my truck for change.

The cashier didn’t hesitate to say, “Don’t worry about it.”

It’s moments like these that I realize how wonderful the world is.

While waiting for my meal I got the cashier the 85 cents.  I don’t believe in taking advantage.

Thank you for your Random Act of Kindness.

P.S. The evergreen shrub in the foreground is a Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo sp.).  Be careful when planting Mugo Pines, they don’t all stay as compact as you’d think.