Individuality in trees

I’ve mentioned recently that trees have been changing colour. What I found interesting was the fact that the trees do this in a very individual way. One particular Ash tree may very well change to a wonderful lemon-yellow colour whilst another Ash tree, right next to it, will stay green. One of those Ash trees has also been hanging on to its keys for the last two years, but all the other Ash trees have dropped theirs.

Two of the American Sweet gum trees have changed to a brilliant red colour – as they are renowned for – but a third tree, not very far from the other two has remained green up to now. What is it that has made that third tree decide not to play ball? If you don’t believe trees can actually make decisions, then there is evidence that they at least respond in individual ways. There are many Yew trees in the park and today my wife and I walked past at least half a dozen of them. Only one of them had any signs of fruit on them. The fruit is a bright red, fleshy aril, and this one particular tree was full of them but not a single one spotted on any of the other trees. What made this one tree produce so many arils? Alternatively, why haven’t the others produced any?

Another example – I just happened to notice that the Goat willow or Pussy willow was producing buds for next year’s growth. This is the willow near the bowling green, so I thought I’d check out the one by the Vicarage Road entrance and see if it was doing the same. The buds were so scarce that we thought we’d got the wrong tree or that it wasn’t a Goat willow, until my wife’s eagle eyes spotted some. This tree is of comparable size to the one by the bowling green but the buds are half the size.

These are just some of the more recent differences between individual trees that I’ve noticed but I’m sure it’ll crop up again whether it’s about the amount of blossom produced, the amount of fruit, the colour of leaves or whatever; trees, like people, don’t behave uniformly and aren’t always predictable.

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