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Preparing for Winter: Tree Following, October 2016

October 12, 2016

cherry tree going dormantWith the days getting shorter and the nights getting colder, my little cherry tree (Prunus pensylvanica)  is, like me, preparing for winter. While I clean up the garden and stack my winter supply of firewood, the tree is stopping the process of photosynthesis and  shunting sugars down the trunk to the roots where they will provide sustenance through the winter. This tree shed some of its leaves during the summer in response to our extended drought. As it prepares for winter dormancy, however, it is doing this in a much more generalized way.

The process seems to be working from the bottom up. The lower branches are already mostly bare, the middle branches are sporting a relatively sparse display of yellow and orange leaves, and leaves on the upper branches are mostly still green.

Our fall foliage color is fading more quickly than usual this year, presumably because of the drought. (My town is on the border of the “extreme drought” and “severe drought” areas.) I am quite happy, however, with how my little cherry tree has come through this difficult season. It has held its own and put on new growth, even without any supplemental watering. It will be interesting to see how it performs next year in what I hope will be more normal moisture conditions.

The tree following meme is hosted by Pat English at The Squirrel Basket, where you can learn about the many varieties of trees being followed by garden bloggers.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2016 8:57 pm

    I’m glad your tree survived the toughest period, Jean. I hope you get some precipitation soon.

    • October 17, 2016 10:33 pm

      Kris, This little tree does seem to be a survivor. We have had some rain, but not enough to put a dent in our deficit. Today, the government announced that several rivers in the northern part of the state are at record low levels. This includes the St. John river, which is the border between northern Maine and Canada. Apparently, levels are so low that it would not be difficult to walk across the border. November is usually a rainy month here. Usually, I hate that cold November rain; but this year, I find myself wishing for lots of it.

  2. October 14, 2016 9:50 am

    I’m glad your Prunus is doing well and hopefully it will continue to survive for years to come.
    It’s funny how different species or even different individual trees of the same species fall differently.
    All the best 🙂

    • October 17, 2016 10:34 pm

      Pat, I’ve never really paid this much attention to Prunus species before, so I don’t know if the bottom-up leaf fall is typical.

  3. October 15, 2016 11:16 am

    my Prunus nigra is about the same size, but it is leafing out a little bigger and happier this spring.

    • October 17, 2016 10:36 pm

      Diana, It will be interesting to see if mine puts on a growth spurt next year if we have normal precipitation amounts. I’m impressed that it managed to grow some this year, even in these challenging conditions.


  1. Tree following link box for October 2016 | The Squirrelbasket

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