Thursday, February 4, 2010
It comes from a place of love, of nurturing, of hope. My sister bought us a gift certificate for a tree as a house warming present 8 years ago. The Southern magnolia we carefully chose and planted was a symbol of finally setting down roots. We staked the tree because god forbid a strong wind, or heavy storm, or other force of nature should knock down the tree. When the tree outgrew it's original tie, I grabbed my favorite tool - the plastic cable tie - and once again tied it up because...well...I loved this tree and wanted to protect it. In tonight's first master gardener lesson, we learned about botany from a most engaging speaker. There is too much to pass along and it's all fantastically interesting. I would just suggest everyone take a class in botany. There was only one moment I wanted to jet from the class - when we learned about the vascular system of plants. See the cable tie in the photo above? Well, though I had no interest or experience in gardening when I planted the tree, I did have an inkling that when a cable tie indents the tree, it's time to cut it off. Don't know why I didn't. Laziness. Busyness. A subconscious fear that the tree would fall over (silly when one can compare the thickness of the tree to the thickness of that anemic wooden stake). Here's why I DO need to cut it off: The cambium layer (xylem and phloem) of the tree is a very thin ring of conductive living tissue just behind the bark. The xylem's job is to transport water from the roots, upward into all parts of the tree. It's the continuous piping throughout the tree. The phloem's job is to transport sugars and carbohydrates from the leaves downward into all parts of the tree. This is the tree's vascular tissue. So that plastic cable tie could possibly be (gulp) cutting into the very layer that is essential to the life of the tree. In addition, I don't want to damage the cambium layer because disease can get into the tree, rot the (dead) wood in the center, and cause a slow death. Let's hope this class did not come too late...
On a lighter note...here's another tidbit you may not have known about lilies (referencing this post on lily bulb and tremella soup) It does not have petals. You know how roses have petals and the green sepals just under the petals? Well, no sepals, no petals. Lilies have tepals. Remember this, there will be a quiz at the end of March - with a prize that has not yet been determined. For real. Just decided this now.