Understanding signs of Dis-Ease in plant people

New thread to discuss ill health of our plant-tree-fungi communities.

Not quite sure what you intend with this thread, so I’ll just put in my own experience with rewilding two acres of bare soil where a poplar stand had been cut down.

This boils down to seeing that change weakens the bio-community fabric; the more change, the weaker it gets. Newcomers (planted or sown) will find it harder to fit in and get settled (read: get rooted and start growing). Trying to create diversity by bringing in many different species may not be as successful as one hopes. It needs time and rest to recover.

Hmmm, how does that compare with what happens when human communities change very fast?


Hi Anneke, thanks for your comments! I meant to upload some photos to ask for advice on some problems i’ve encountered with several tree species locally, and then hoped that the conversation would lead to diverse topics (individual species and interrelationships)… i’ll get back to this soon…need to resize some pics in order to upload them :slight_smile:

OK, I look forward to your pics, although I doubt that I can contribute much with regard to your bioregion.

In the past couple of years I have gained tremendous respect for the tenacity of trees. Some examples:
Early in the first Spring we planted lots of young trees (2’’ tall). That first Spring and Summer were very dry, cold and windy. In the second and even third Springs, it seemed that especially elderberry and guelder-rose had not survived. Only the ones in our composting area did really well. After another half suncircling, we noticed that the tiny ones had taken root after all and had basically started anew. Their new shoots now appeared above the grass and started leafing after all!
So too did we have several English laurels (cherry laurel) taken out using a small shovel. They were trimmed completely and the stumps and roots lay in the icy wind (-20 Celsius) for a couple of days. We decided to give them a chance and they too started doing well after two and a half years. Only one seems to not have made it.

Such things make one wonder how many trees and other plants are being discarded because they look as if all life has left them, while somewhere in there they still have the means to grow back as strong and big as ever.

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YES! this is so true… i’ve seen many examples of this, one that stands out is a fairly large big-leaf maple that my dad felled years ago, then bulldozed the stump into another area as “refuse”. The stump’s root bundle was completely exposed, but even after all of this abuse, life sprang forth again in the form of several new trunks growing straight and tall out of the area where the root bundle was laying sideways on the ground. This touched my heart deeply, as did grief when he destroyed the new growth for some stupid reason or another. (aaahhh… family). :blue_heart:

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Starting to notice die backs (hopefully not “die - offs”) of mosses and licorice fern companions on big leaf maples here in south puget sound region… anyone else seen this? Thoughts on how likely they are to rebound if the drought & temp. stress eases off? I’m really distressed about this latest find - it’s only MAY - where oh where is our seasonal rain? would love some insights from others :blue_heart:

Yeah, I think climate change is beginning to be a reality for more parts of the world. It has certainly begun to impact the NW. My thought is that those moss and fern species are fairly resilient to dry periods. But if it gets dry enough to start causing the trees to die back, I think we’ll see a shift in mosses and ferns pretty quickly.

It seems like much of the western NW is on a path toward more oak/dry grassland rather than the conifer/maple forests we’re used to. At least I think this is likely at lower elevations. It sure will be interesting. Upland oaks certainly have less moss/fern biomass than maples, so we’ll probably see quite a die-off. Hopefully the great, ethnobotanically important plant communities that come along with oaks are able to make the shift…

Its interesting that we’re not really in much of a drought this year. It has just been sooo warm!

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would be interested to hear more about what folks think are likely/current changes in their bioregions, specifically with regard to plants but also all other aspects of different ecosystems. Also looking at these changes how one could adapt and help native, wild plant friends adapt when there are more droughts, higher rainfall, etc. Yet another Cascadian here, and I have definitely seen stress the past few years with the drought we’ve been having and am also curious what others think would be good ways to help native plant communities adapt. It does seem like more of the dryer, grassland species from California would be more resilient up here. I know from reading part of Tending the Wild that there were tons of different wild grains that were tended but would be interested to do more research into plants for dryer climates. Another thing that may be super critical is planting back along streams to keep water temperature under control… lots to talk about and explore

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Who can help me understand what is happening with my salal and oregon grape friends?
Both samples taken within ~30’ of one another in a (recovering) highly disturbed, mostly shaded site – approx. 750’ elevation, rocky soil, on SE end of Olympic peninsula, WA.
All photos are front & back of 4 leaves total, from 4 separate plants (2 Dull Oregon Grape, Mahonia nervosa, and 2 Salal, Gaultheria shallon), and I attempted back-lighting on some of them to show the interior stuff a little better. The images do not do justice to the range of colors - everything from metallic grey (appearing almost like paint) to bronze, brown, black, off-white with dark speckles, pukey green-red mixture to bright crimson. (One o.g. plant had 2 branches that were completely bright crimson - similar to what I’ve seen in the winter, but the rest of the plant and her neighbors were green). Didn’t have a camera with me so had to settle for bringing leaves home to investigate. The samples were about 4 hours old when photographed.
Would be grateful for your insights! :sun_with_face: