Are your leaves looking damaged?

8 Jun 2015

Last week saw June winds in excess of 50mph sweep through the UK and it resembled autumn rather than summer!

This very rare event, I cannot remember anything like it in my 30 years of tree growing, has bruised emerging leaves up and down the country. When leaves emerge they are very soft and tender as they have yet to form the waxy cuticle that protects them against rain and wind. The wind of a few days ago picked up tiny particles of debris and effectively sand blasted these new leaves which damaged their surface. Their dishevelled appearance, though alarming, is not as bad as it seems as leaves compensate to remain efficient and all will be forgotten when the trees produce another flush of growth in July.

Although the timing of this blast was bad for newly emerging leaves it effects were not as bad as the very late sharp frost we had at the end of May about seven years ago which turned all the new soft growth black, as well as destroying local wheat and barley crops on neighbouring farms. I remember being very disheartened that morning! The trees recovered then and the growing season developed into a good one so never despair on these setbacks!

On the plus side, temperatures are gently climbing so it is a great time to water and feed your newly planted trees to stimulate root development which in turn produces more shoot development. At Barcham, we got off fairly lightly with only a few trees down as their infrastructure wires came free of their supports in the strong gusts. We will spend the next two weeks or so getting everything back to how it was on Monday morning. Here’s hoping that the next wind we get on this scale doesn’t happen until winter.

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