WATER THOSE TREES WITH LOVE, H20 AND COMPOST and a Rant Worth Having

Updated: Jun 21


Water Water Water Because it is HOT


With our temps throughout most of the USA experiencing record highs, again, this summer, watering is on my mind. In the southeast, we are seeing a lot of oak decline due to infections by fungal pathogens. IN the UK the oak decline that is decimating urban populations is associated with fungal and/or bacterial pathogens. What all of these pathogens share is a suite of symptoms and the way they infect their host trees. Infection in the water-conducting cells or conduits (xylem) of the plant. This means the movement of water is inhibited and in some parts of the plant can be stopped totally leading to cell death and eventually tissues death and tree death. One of the ways to combat these diseases and keep our majestic oaks and all that they provide (e.g. shade, clean air, beauty, butterfly and bird habitat) is to provide supplemental water throughout the year when drought and/or high temps are likely to stress the trees even more. This is in addition to providing beneficial microbes to help fight the infection and injecting trees with the proper chemistry. I’ll go on about this in a minute because I do have an ax to grind!


So – water your trees, please. Your oaks, tulips, maples, and anything that is showing branches with a lack of leaves on them; called tip-dieback in the industry. Though these trees can be infected by very different pathogens, the pathogens are all doing the same thing – disrupting that water flow. This leads to twisted leaves or browning and drying leaves and eventual leaf death. The leaf death we see in many cases at the very ends (or tip) of the branches. These bare branches are a signal the tree is infected and needs extra attention as well as medicine. I recommend watering your trees for 30 – 40 minutes every 2 – 3 days. How much clay you have, the surrounding trees cover (and thus amount of shade and relative temps), how old the tree is, how healthy vs sick it is and more determines how long to water. Don’t stress out about this just give your tree water. Water at and beyond the drip line because this is where you’ll find the roots doing most of the hard work of water uptake and nutrient uptake. It is where your beneficial microbes are hanging out as well. The drip line, incidentally, is where rain would drip from leaves found at the farthest canopy edge away from the trunk.

Because last winter wasn’t much of a winter, our trees did not get as long of a rest period as they need. Yes, we had some very cold temps but we didn’t start to get average winter temps till December, at least not in East TN. This means the trees which have evolved to metabolically slow down in October, had to wait for another couple of months to metabolically slow. They still lost their leaves, the light triggers that, but the pathogens already living in them were continuing to grow in the warmer temps and the trees were continuing the feed those pathogens while not being able to make food. Trees can’t make food without leaves. Trying to put this into a human-focused metaphor I came up with this...it would be like having a business that suddenly.

STOP READING HERE IF YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN AX-GRINDING:) ABOUT THE LACK OF WOMEN AND POC IN OUR INDUSTRY

Here where I live, there is one company specializing in plant and tree health care that won't inject trees because they don't believe it works. I say - read the darned science! The companies that are injecting are using the wrong fungicide because again - read the darned science! Even a company with an international presence that includes a tree pathology research group is using the wrong stuff. Are they not talking to their research group but rather instead talking to each other? A bunch of older white guys who don't like being told what to do by women or PhDs, who don't believe in science, wth? A bunch of young guys who've been elevated to management positions despite the fact they don't know the difference between a gymnosperm and an angiosperm. How can they possibly manage plant health care if they don't know and are unable to understand the science? This is the problem with a mono-culture. If you can't learn from people different than you because of misogyny and machismo and homophobia that is so ingrained in the culture of the company and its leadership, then you can't possibly provide the best quality of care. Nor the best management protocols because the number of voices with knowledge and passion that have been silenced is a lot. Instead of hiring a few token diversity-fillers change your ratio such that women:men and nonwhite:whites. Then large companies with social and economic power can be part of the solution instead of perpetuating the same old same old. AND at the same time, you'll benefit from real knowledge and diversity of voices, experiences, and perspectives leading to better customer service and tree health outcomes. I say Grow a pair of Ovaries! Because we don't have time to wait for you to catch up to the science or the 21st century.

It shouldn't look like this:


It should look like this except add an equal number of women of color

r temps throughout most of the USA experiencing record highs, again, this summer, watering is on my mind. In the southeast, we are seeing a lot of oak decline due to infections by fungal pathogens. IN the UK the oak decline that is decimating urban populations is associated with fungal and/or bacterial pathogens. What all of these pathogens share is a suite of symptoms and the way they infect their host trees. Infection in the water-conducting cells or conduits (xylem) of the plant. This means the movement of water is inhibited and in some parts of the plant can be stopped totally leading to cell death and eventually tissues death and tree death. One of the ways to combat these diseases and keep our majestic oaks and all that they provide (e.g. shade, clean air, beauty, butterfly and bird habitat) is to provide supplemental water throughout the year when drought and/or high temps are likely to stress the trees even more. This is in addition to providing beneficial microbes to help fight the infection and injecting trees with the proper chemistry. I’ll go on about this in a minute because I do have an ax to grind!

So – water your trees, please. Your oaks, tulips, maples, and anything that is showing branches with a lack of leaves on them; called tip-dieback in the industry. Though these trees can be infected by very different pathogens, the pathogens are all doing the same thing – disrupting that water flow. This leads to twisted leaves or browning and drying leaves and eventual leaf death. The leaf death we see in many cases at the very ends (or tip) of the branches. These bare branches are a signal the tree is infected and needs extra attention as well as medicine. I recommend watering your trees for 30 – 40 minutes every 2 – 3 days. How much clay you have, the surrounding trees cover (and thus amount of shade and relative temps), how old the tree is, how healthy vs sick it is and more determines how long to water. Don’t stress out about this just give your tree water. Water at and beyond the drip line because this is where you’ll find the roots doing most of the hard work of water uptake and nutrient uptake. It is where your beneficial microbes are hanging out as well. The drip line, incidentally, is where rain would drip from leaves found at the farthest canopy edge away from the trunk.

Because last winter wasn’t much of a winter, our trees did not get as long of a rest period as they need. Yes, we had some very cold temps but we didn’t start to get average winter temps till December, at least not in East TN. This means the trees which have evolved to metabolically slow down in October, had to wait for another couple of months to metabolically slow. They still lost their leaves, the light triggers that, but the pathogens already living in them were continuing to grow in the warmer temps and the trees were continuing the feed those pathogens while not being able to make food. Trees can’t make food without leaves. Trying to put this into a human-focused metaphor I came up with this...it would be like having a business that suddenly.

STOP READING HERE IF YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN AX-GRINDING:) ABOUT THE LACK OF WOMEN AND POC IN OUR INDUSTRY

Here where I live, there is one company specializing in plant and tree health care that won't inject trees because they don't believe it works. I say - read the darned science! The companies that are injecting are using the wrong fungicide because again - read the darned science! Even a company with an international presence that includes a tree pathology research group is using the wrong stuff. Are they not talking to their research group but rather instead talking to each other? A bunch of older white guys who don't like being told what to do by women or PhDs, who don't believe in science, wth? A bunch of young guys who've been elevated to management positions despite the fact they don't know the difference between a gymnosperm and an angiosperm. How can they possibly manage plant health care if they don't know and are unable to understand the science? This is the problem with a mono-culture. If you can't learn from people different than you because of misogyny and machismo and homophobia that is so ingrained in the culture of the company and its leadership, then you can't possibly provide the best quality of care. Nor the best management protocols because the number of voices with knowledge and passion that have been silenced is a lot. Instead of hiring a few token diversity-fillers change your ratio such that women:men and nonwhite:whites. Then large companies with social and economic power can be part of the solution instead of perpetuating the same old same old. AND at the same time, you'll benefit from real knowledge and diversity of voices, experiences, and perspectives leading to better customer service and tree health outcomes. I say Grow a pair of Ovaries! Because we don't have time to wait for you to catch up to the science or the 21st century.

It shouldn't look like this:

It should look like this except add an equal number of women of color

r temps throughout most of the USA experiencing record highs, again, this summer, watering is on my mind. In the southeast, we are seeing a lot of oak decline due to infections by fungal pathogens. IN the UK the oak decline that is decimating urban populations is associated with fungal and/or bacterial pathogens. What all of these pathogens share is a suite of symptoms and the way they infect their host trees. Infection in the water-conducting cells or conduits (xylem) of the plant. This means the movement of water is inhibited and in some parts of the plant can be stopped totally leading to cell death and eventually tissues death and tree death. One of the ways to combat these diseases and keep our majestic oaks and all that they provide (e.g. shade, clean air, beauty, butterfly and bird habitat) is to provide supplemental water throughout the year when drought and/or high temps are likely to stress the trees even more. This is in addition to providing beneficial microbes to help fight the infection and injecting trees with the proper chemistry. I’ll go on about this in a minute because I do have an ax to grind!

So – water your trees, please. Your oaks, tulips, maples, and anything that is showing branches with a lack of leaves on them; called tip-dieback in the industry. Though these trees can be infected by very different pathogens, the pathogens are all doing the same thing – disrupting that water flow. This leads to twisted leaves or browning and dry