Jonathan & Denise >
Different tree species put out their first leaves of the year at different times : Hawthorn is one of the first ; Ash one of the last.
But a Sycamore with no leaves in June? There was a cold dry gale about a month ago that did quite a bit of damage in the garden – chilling off tender leaves and shoots. It’s the youngest plants – the saplings no more than a six inches high and with just four still-unfolding leaves that are lucky to survive ; and just some such plants were killed that day. But what of a large Sycamore 30 or so years old? Well it might lose some leaves, particularly those above the top of the high garden wall, but whilst the tree might be knocked back a bit, it would survive ; and such hardships can strengthen the trees in the long run.
So this particular Sycamore , completely without leaves in June, must have suffered some other shock. Stand back a bit, though, and it becomes clear that this is a dry area of the garden : there’s the shelter of the wall, and there’s another Sycamore close by, even larger, that seems to be thriving : in fact that Sycamore has, for the first time evere, produced ‘keys’ – ie seed. Our hypothesis, then, is that the bigger tree has had the edge on its neighbour from the start, and has finally squeezed the life of the smaller tree. Now that we think about it, the now dead tree has always had less luxuriant foliage, and has been quicker to shed leaves in dry weather or gales or just simply the arrival of Autumn!
Tucked away in the corner of the garden, between the high wall (more than 12ft high in this corner) and the sycamores, we have two apple trees. We’re careful to ensure they get sufficient water, otherwise they would shed all their tiny apples. The weather, this May and June, is turning out to be unusually cold, and unusually showery, too ; so these apples have a good chance of surviving through to Autumn – and then be eaten by us!