I wrote before on my new experience of collecting water-elms, Planera aquatica, in October. A number of the specimens I brought home have shown new bud activity, though late in the season of course. There won’t be shoots from these buds, but their appearance tells me the trees have maintained their cells’ internal pressure going into dormancy. For those of you with some experience collecting trees, you know what sap withdrawal looks like. Smaller branchlets become brittle (in many cases you can actually see the juvenile bark wrinkle from dehydration). Once this process begins, you can pretty much count the tree as dead. On the other hand, those trees that are going to make it maintain their cells’ internal pressure, or hydration, and sap flow is re-established with the growth of new roots and then shoots (sometimes this is reversed, but sap flow is what pushes the new roots and shoots).
You may remember this tree from October 18th. It was the biggest one I brought home. As I noted at the time, I always do my best to bring home one big hunky masculine specimen from each trip. This one fit the bill.
Fast-forward to now, and this specimen has roots emerging from the drain holes of its pot. It’s also pushed a few new buds, which won’t grow any further this year. But the fact that there are roots tells me the trees’ cells are well hydrated. Barring something unusual happening this winter, this tree should explode with growth come spring.
Here’s the tree today. It’ll go on sale next spring. The trunk is 5″ at the soil surface (flaring roots are buried, as usual), and it’s 31.5″ to the chop.