Friday, November 25, 2011

Turf the Old

The Beech tree,(Fagus sylvatica) does not shed it's leaves 'til later in the spring despite the cold winter temperatures in Europe. The beech hedges, seen widely distributed in Scotland, retain the browning and yellowed saw toothed leaves though out the winter in contrast to almost all other leaves of deciduous trees, which conveniently and expeditiously retire to the turf in the fall and make way for the young in the spring. The Beech leaf is much more stubborn about going, and needs the young growth to expand and force the old leaves from their tenacious foothold. The elderly Beech leaves serve a minor purpose I suppose, in that they increase the winter density of the hedges which moderates the wind, but the appearance is of elderly gentlemen whose role is come and gone, but won't go readily! Eventually the youth will push them out and fulfill their role of windbreak plus providing new life to the company! Because the old are reluctant to leave 'til the spring, the mess to clean up after their departure detracts from the work available for the new growth. If they only knew! They fortunately, usefully serve as late arrivals in the compost, but the earliest at that gathering get the most points and serve the greater good quickly. The Evergreens are another matter. Here on Lotus Island, the Western Red Cedar, (Thuja plicata), nominally an evergreen as most of the Conifers are, loses its leaves in a 3 year cycle, as all the rest of the Evergreens do in 2 to 5 year cycles. At least Thuja, in the fall, drops abundant spent leaves with the November storms over our plot, as it is doing at the moment, and the deposits on the turf are huge. A better corporate system leaves much of the tree with both space for new leaf recruits and 2 and 3 year veterans to work usefully though the winter and spring. They are always green in name but deciduous in fact, since shedding of the very old is part of Mother Nature's renewal. Unlike the Beech tree; more like the Evergreen; continuity for corporate health of the tree and of us is a consideration!

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