Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bud break and young trees

    Last summer, I shared with you the observation that you can't always trust information on cultivar performance collected from young trees (trees under 8 inches in diameter). Young trees are more prone to drought stress, nut maturity is often delayed, and nut size and shape are often different on young trees than on mature trees. These inconsistencies between young and mature trees are largely due to the fact that young trees do not have a root system that is large enough to dominate the landscape and out-compete surrounding vegetation for water and nutrients. 
     This spring, I've noticed that bud break on young trees is delayed as compared to nearby mature trees. The photo at right was taken on 26 March 2012. Both twigs were cut from trees grafted to Lakota. The twig on the left was taken from a mature tree measuring 12 inches in diameter, while the twig on the right was collected from a young tree only 4 inches in diameter.
     It seems that this difference in bud break development is not unique to Lakota. Young Pawnee and Kanza trees also were delayed in breaking bud as compared to mature trees of the same cultivar.