|hellebore plantlet in the woodland|
|frost cracks ?|
I wondered if the core of this ornamental tree with oriental origin was swelling and collapsing with temperature fluctuations at a different rate to the bark. I found this article which presents the hypothesis that frost cracks manifesting in the bark of thin-skinned trees after a period of extreme cold followed by rapid thawing (as we had last year), initiate from internal wounds caused by injuries early in the tree's life. It's possible to encourage the tree to generate its own plaster of callouses by tracing around the crack with a sterilised knife and removing inch wide sections of the surrounding bark. This will help prevent disease entering through the crack but doesn't heal the internal wound. I personally never use plasters, preferring to leave my cuts to air-dry - not sure what treatment the tree would opt for.
I pondered on what could possibly injure a young tree, then remembered the grafting technique which is applied to many domesticated trees to combine slow-growth of roots and trunk with branches from hybridised specimens optimised to yield desirable flowers and fruit. What worse injury could a tree experience than having its major branches lopped off and replaced?
No doubt, due to the stress of bearing the weight of its over-grown grafted branches, canker at the base of its trunk and frost cracks, the tree feels the urge to reproduce over and beyond producing cherries. In spring, suckers sprouting from the rootstock produced delicate single flowers in pale, semi-transparent, pink a few weeks before the grafted branches above were covered by proper pink double blooms. I managed to extract one of the vigorous suckers with a large piece of root intact in summer, assuming it a certainty that by the following spring there would be a small tree-in-waiting, with a simpler, more natural beauty compared to its parent which was aesthetically enhanced by implants.
|cherry suckers in spring|
|extracted cherry sucker in summer|
However, here is the cherry tree this week and its potted mini-me - difficult to tell if it's alive. I'm hoping that ripping the sucker from its parent doesn't count as an injury ...