Saturday, June 25, 2011

Strictly Triumph

This week is all about Triumph.  Oh there's always some minor glitches that occur but the overall sense of wonder that I'm feeling overrides everything.  Some of you may remember that I planted a Red Oak last spring.  It was a large tree and somewhat expensive for me.  But I pampered it and loved it and it grew beautifully throughout the summer.  During fall it looked like this.


The leaves turned a bright shade of red and I was thrilled with my purchase.

But come spring when the snow melted I was mortified to find the voles and mice had done a serious amount of damage to my beautiful tree.  The bark was eaten clean through, right around the trunk.  I did look for signs of life as the weather warmed but it appeared as though the tree was dead.  I have given up looking over the last month, resigned to the fact that this tree had not survived.  

As the grasses and wildflowers grow in the meadow area the trees become hidden so we are unable to see from a distance how they are getting along.  So this week we did a tour and closely inspected each tree.  This is what we found.


That looks like new growth on that tree.  And yes, it's the oak.


Look at those pretty red oak leaves.  It's a miracle!  How did this happen?  Well, the trunk of the tree has a flared root at the bottom and from that root sprouted a whole new tree.  In addition, below the ring of gnaw marks on the trunk sprouted new branches.   From a distance you can see that the entire top of the tree has died.  Still a huge loss as this tree was approximately 5 or 6 feet tall.  But the fact that it didn't completely die is amazing.


And definitely something worth celebrating.  Isn't nature wonderful?

16 comments:

  1. Marguerite I am sooo pleased for you, this is what happens with mine though mine are knocked back each winter by the wind, I am trying to clear ground around my surviving trees and hope to get winter protection around each by winter, so many jobs, so little time, yet I still sit at the comupter ;o)
    I like to walk around looking at all the plants at least once a month, there are areas that I visit most days but others like you I don't get to so much, wishing you a great weekend, Frances

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  2. Yeah! It is wonderful that the roots survived enough to continue to grow! I hope it remains healthy and those voles don't come back!

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  3. Awesome!!!!!! Trees were made to survive :)

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  4. I'm always amazed that anything comes back when severely damaged too. How cool, as I definitely clearly remember you writing him off earlier this year.

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  5. Yikes, we better remember to protect our little maple tree against the critters this winter. Over the years, the rabbits have done their share of damage in the winter, and the goats, too, when they've escaped!

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  6. Ah, the mighty oak! I hope it grows strong and tall for you now.

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  7. A triumph indeed! Get some chicken wire and make a column of it to wrap the trunk of the newly sprouted tree. It may not deter the voles, but it might help. All my new saplings are encased in wire cages, and mostly it helps.

    I love triumphs.

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  8. Congratulations, Marguerite; that is very good news! When I am trying to get rid of an oak sapling (like the one I cut down last fall inside the area of my new serenity garden), I am frustrated to see all those healthy new shoots emerging from the trunk. But your story is a reminder that the determination of trees to survive and grow is, in fact, a triumph. -Jean

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  9. Wooo hoo! Let's hear it for the little oak that could.. and did!

    I have found this year, cooler and somewhat damper than normal, to be quite the bonus for many of our bushes and trees. Our burning bush and currents are thriving. As are our pom-pom (or snowballs) bushes. Our veggie garden... that's a different story.

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  10. Wow, the resilience of nature. Yay!! :)

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  11. Isn't Mother Nature amazing! For this coming Fall you need to find some Tree Guards - re-usable plastic wraps for trunks. I'm a big fan 'cause we've got rabbits and mice and such that would eat our little trees!

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  12. That's wonderful! Hooray for you!! I've seen that happen before. Mother Nature's will to live is unrivaled. How are you going to protect it this winter? One of my dogs is an accomplished vole hunter. We find their little slobbery bodies in the grass sometimes. It makes up for any damage she does to the garden. :o)

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  13. Frances, I completely understand the number of jobs to do! Seems like a never ending cycle some days and they don't always get done.

    Karin - we'll be taking extra precautions this year to make sure the voles can't get to this tree. A combination of plastic piping and hardware cloth I think. I can't bear to lose it again.

    Johanna and Jess - It really is amazing what damage a plant can take and still make a comeback!

    Kim - I thought voles were bad, can't even imagine goats running rampant!

    Holley - I really hope so. It seems the root is quite strong so hopefully the tree will be too.

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  14. Laurrie - A wire cage is exactly what we're thinking. I think the dead tree top will need to be cut off and then a cage built around the whole bottom portion out of fine wire cloth.

    Jean - isn't that funny that I'm trying so hard to grow an oak and you can't rid of them!

    Michelle - Agreed! the veggies are struggling but all the other plants are quite happy with all the rain and cool temps.

    Ms.S - I'm often amazed at what nature brings and this was truly amazing.

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  15. Aagaard Farms - I've been looking for tree guards everywhere and can't seem to find them! You would think in a place with so many mice and voles every store would sell them but no such luck thus far. We're contemplating buying cheap plastic piping instead.

    TS - the cats do quite a job hunting as well but I think we're outnumbered. Our only hope is using plastic piping and hardware cloth to try and protect the trees.

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  16. I am so glad that your oak tree has survived - I'm sure with some protection from the voles it will soon recover and regain all the lost top growth too, as it must already have a good root system. These tales of survival against the odds are wonderful, they encourage us all.

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