long time, no see, tree

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Alright, it's been over a month since we've taken a look at the tree. Has anything changed?

Well, the leaves have continued to darken and wither. They were already starting to look older and a bit wrinkly in June. At the end of July, when we returned home from our vacation, they looked like this.


You can see the toothed edges so clearly now! I remember having difficulty noticing that when I was first trying to identify the characteristics of the ash tree leaves in May. And the green is so dark now too. You can really see the structure of the veins: almost perfect opposite branching off of a central vein. Typical for my tree.

Looking below the leaves reveals the real dramatic change of the last month.


The new growth from the spring has changed color! The new section of the twig, where the leaves have grown, has changed from green to a light brownish/gray. What a surprise! I was not expecting that!


Here's the scar where the new growth for this year began, growing out of the terminal bud at the tip of last year's growth. You can see how the color of the new section is changing and will eventually look like that from last year.


And the buds at the tips of this year's growth look much more fully formed than they did a month ago. You take those green stems away, and it could totally be my twig back in February! In fact, this twig seems to have a strange nail-looking ridge beneath the terminal bud just like I saw on one of the twigs I was watching in March. Now that I see it here, green, next to stems holding leaves, I think I know what it is! It looks just like the base of a new stem for a new leaf, doesn't it? That would be exactly the spot for a new pair of leaves too: off-set 90 degrees from the previous set of leaves, right? So I guess this last set just didn't develop. Maybe it kind of started and then stopped. Or maybe that's something that the twig does to sort of seal up the terminal bud.

Okay, I feel like this tree has done all the growing it's going to do. I mean, those buds will probably grow some more and the new growth will probably darken, but there's not going to be more growth or more leaves. So what is the tree doing now? Is it making food for winter? Does it even need to do that? Is it just being a tree: providing food, shelter, shade and oxygen for animals? I wonder when the leaves will start changing colors? Will the ash be an early color-changer or late? What will the scar look like when the leaves do fall off? I feel a little like I did in February, like things are sort of stable now and I'm just waiting, waiting for any signs of the big change to come. Fall is going to be exciting!

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This page contains a single entry by Alison published on August 1, 2011 9:53 AM.

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