Saturday, March 26, 2011


Mmmmm…mud season!
We’re in a cold snap. It’s been about 32° all day, and it’s supposed to go down to 17° tonight. On today’s perambulation, I noticed ice forming in the ruts:
Let’s see how the buds are coming along, shall we?
Lilac – Syringa vulgaris. Lilacs, along with ashes, maples, some dogwoods, and a bunch of shrubbier things like viburnums, are “opposite” – meaning their branches are paired. You see that even when they are wee little buds, and interestingly, as I saw today, sometimes one bud is bigger than another. I wonder what that will look like when the buds pop open.
I may have evidence that the ashes are waking up just the tiniest bit.
Here’s the terminal bud of an ash sapling on March 15th.  See how tightly clasped the two bud scales are?
And here’s the same sapling, nine days later. Doesn’t the top seem to be opening up a bit? Which would be odd, if only because in my experience, the ashes are among the last to get going in the spring.
Witchhazel – Hamamelis virginiana, as of March 18.
No obvious change as of today. BUT, I knew there was something different about it lately…I racked my brain.
My brain suggested I google my own blog, and lo and behold, check this out:
January 10. It’s gray! Not yellow! Aha!
Gray birch – Betula populifolia. I really don’t have much to observe here, but I figure this will be a good point of reference when this opens up, eventually.
Same gray birch – a male catkin. When the catkins explode – that will be fun. That’s got to be weeks away. I love the basket weave look of this. I do wish this were in a bit crisper focus.
More gray birch…
And now, on a sadder note, let’s look at some black knot fungus.
These cherry trees are infected. I don’t think there is much to be done about it – the fungus spreads via spores, and once it takes hold, it gradually spreads over the whole tree and snaps the twigs. Eventually the tree succumbs.
The pathogen's presence disrupts the normal growth of the twigs and a tumor-like growth forms at the infection site. Infections may take place as much as a year or more prior to the development of these characteristic "knots", therefore, the swellings are normally not noticed until the winter of the second season of infection. It takes a keen observer to notice the subtle, initial symptoms present during the first season of infection.  Source
And now, as your reward for studying all the buds with me, here are some landscapes.

The thing to notice here is, the profusion of buds. Let’s zoom in.
Ahh! the buds are actually opening up, too! Yay!


  1. We have a plum tree succumbing to that black fungus as we speak. Use to be beautiful in the spring. Not so much any more. I need to put it out of its misery, soon.