November 24, 2010 at 9:48 a.m.
In one of my articles this past summer I wrote that the Chisago County Master Gardeners have received several calls about the number of trees that were dying, for no apparent reason. At our November meeting we invited Dave Hanson from the U of M to speak on the Emerald Ash Borer. After the class I asked Dr. Hanson about the concern over dying trees. He reminded me that Minnesota summers have been very dry over the past five years and that was especially true for our area.
Several years ago we had a fall such as this where the warm weather extended well into December. Over night it turned bitterly cold, so cold that the sap from the young trees was still up in the trees and froze. The following spring when the weather warmed up the bark cracked and many trees died. I for one lost several young apple and maple trees.
One of the Master Gardeners received a call about elderberry bushes budding out in this warm weather. I am pruning my Heritage raspberry canes back to ground level and I noticed the same budding. I think we all have the same concern when sudden cold comes and how plants will survive the winter.
I thought I would never see the day when a box elder tree died on its own, but it happened to us this past summer. I noticed it dying from the top and then I saw that it was rotting in a knot in the center of the tree. I also saw several sucker branches growing from the base of the trunk. I asked Dr. Hanson about the growth and he stated that is a sure sign the tree is dying. Apparently it's the last gasp effort for the tree to get energy up the tree.
During the growing seasons we can't keep current with all the topics that should be covered and although the topics will surely be different, we will continue to write. I am quite humbled with all the positive comments I receive on our articles. However, I assure you that it is a combined effort. Donna Tatting writes some articles, sends mine to the papers, and supplies me with ideas and information. Sue Humble our coordinator gathers the research for many of my articles, and other Master Gardeners write articles and offer suggestions. Last but not least are the local papers that make space for our articles.