Archive for the ‘Trees in all their glory.’ Category

The Holly Tree

December 3, 2014 7:29 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Daniel asks…

Is a holly tree deciduous or a conifer?

It does not lose its leaves, but it does not produce cones either.

Martin Boyle answers:

Holly Tree

The Holly Tree

The Holly Tree

The scientific name is –( Ilex aquifolium); now read the following ;

but remember the Holly Tree is an evergreen tree with spiny leaf margin and red berries. It is Not a conifer ( Gymnosperm) so no Cones.

It is neither deciduous nor a conifer . It is an evergreen tree.

It belongs to the family Aquifoliaceae of the Angiosperms. For another picture kindly click on the blue link below:-

IN northern regions, evergreens are not numerous, and the short days of winter are better fitted for festivities round the warm hearth within doors than for industrial occupations in the chill open air. Thus, during the comparatively gloomy reign of winter, the old agricultural festival of the melancholy god Saturn, was kept by the Romans with houses decked with boughs, and with free license of speech and jest even for the slave; whilst the ancient Teutonics seem to have propitiated those “good people,” “the lubber fiend” and other woodland sprites, by offering them warm sheltering boughs around the ingle-nook, when their wonted haunts were bare of leaves.

Among the Kelts the unbroken life of “Madre Natura” was symbolized by the evergreen branches of the weird mistletoe, that parasitically decked the boughs of the sacred monarch oak of the forest, and of the surrounding apple-groves of Arthur’s Avalon when their leaves had fallen. Ancient canons of the Church forbade Christians to deck their houses with the branches of the Holly Tree or any evergreens according to these Pagan customs, at least, not at the same times as the heathen.

It was the wise policy of men like Gregory and Augustine to Christianize these rites, although the mistletoe seems to have been too closely associated with the arcana of Druidism ever to receive the same full ecclesiastical sanction as the Holly Tree and the Yew. The spinous leaves and blood-red berries of the former might well be taken by the Christian symbolist as a mystic foreshadowing of the Passion at the celebration of the Nativity, and the name of the tree, which originally referred mainly to its pointed leaves, may have suggested something holy.

Our poets naturally abound in allusions to the bright green of the leaves and the crimson of the berries of the Holly Tree, associating it generally with ivy and yew.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Leaf Blotch Prevention and treatment

5:16 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

James asks…

Leaf Blotch Prevention and treatment

Why does my chestnut tree’s leaves start turning brown and start falling off at the end of July?

I have two on my property. They are actually horse chestnuts. I was told by a friend that it would stop if I raked the leaves up as soon as they fell. I tried this tactic, but they still brown prematurely. It’s kind of depressing because it makes it seem like summer’s shorter than it really is. Any tree experts out there? I’d appreciate any input/advice.

Martin Boyle answers:

horsechestnut leaf blotch

horsechestnut leaf blotch

What your friend has described is the cultural prevention for leaf blotch, a common fungal infection of Horse chestnut trees. Raking the fallen leaves removes the inoculum (fungal spores) from the area and helps to minimize the chance of infection NEXT spring. It will not stop the disease this year. Leaf blotch is primarily an aesthetic problem. It does not threaten the life of the tree. You can also spray fungicides as leaves emerge to prevent leaf blotch. Here is a good article with pictures of leaf blotch.

If these pics do not match your tree’s symptoms then your tree may have leaf scorch. Leaf scorch is characterized by leaves browning on the margins from the outside in. Leaf scorch can also result in premature leaf drop. This is caused by dry soils. Periodical supplemental watering can prevent leaf scorch in the future.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Fall Leaves! Why Do Leaves Fall Off Trees?

November 14, 2012 5:48 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Lisa asks…

Fall leaves, what internal things actually cause leaves to fall off of trees during Fall?

Fall leaves! I’m wondering what makes fall leaves fall off trees during Autumn, internally. Like what happens on the inside of the leaves, biologically speaking. All the internal stuff, excluding any external factors such as temperature related or some lack of beneficial factor.

Martin Boyle :Fall leaves fall because,

Fall leaves happen because there are two stages to dormancy once the plants are triggered by the external conditions. This is the first level of dormancy for regions with limited cold and is called ectodormancy.

While the tree is shedding its fall leaves it is acclimatizing itself to the cold by a number of shifts over several weeks. The lipid content of cell membranes changes and anti-freezing proteins are made. They accumulate osmolytes (small organic molecules) and anti-dessication proteins.

The hormone known to be involved in stress tolerance is abscisic acid (ABA ) so named for its role in promoting fall leaves and fruit drop (abscission).
ABA plays a role in regulating many of a plants responses to habitat stress. Studies have shown plants lacking ABA lack the ability for dormancy. They are extremely sensitive to water deficiency and have immature seeds germinating while still on the fruit.
However there are two kinds of winter dormancy the second being endodormancy. The first was related to the plants current environment so the plant will grow but only when the conditions are right. It will be active in warmer spells but quiescent when the tree is shedding its fall leaves.  To insure this basic activity the plant will super-cool with antifreeze so the cells do not rupture with ice crystal formation. This is enough for plants to stay alive in mild winters. They will use the second form of dormancy regulated by an internal ‘clock’ if in zones with severe cold. In this, plants shut down and stay dormant despite warm spells. The plant tracks the amount of time above 0 C and below 10 C and does not respond or grow in warm spells until their necessary counted cold time is met. Species adapt to latitude by having different numbers of chill hours that must pass before they can break dormancy. The growth-inhibiting phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) is broken down by the cold, over time. This allows an increase in growth promoters like gibberellins, these are the internal biological processes interacting that regulate the timing.
These forms of dormancy are not just acclimatization’s by plants they are complex genetic adaptations that have evolved.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Fall Planting Fruit Trees

November 1, 2012 11:23 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Ken asks…

Fall planting dwarf fruit trees in zone 5b?

I think I made a boo boo. Ordered my first fruit trees and opted to receive them in the fall instead of next spring. Someone told me fall planting trees, wont survive the first winter here…am i doomed?
PS it was an assortment of dwarf: sweet cherry, pie cherry, apple, peach, blueberry bush, and Japanese plum…

Martin Boyle answers:

Fall planting is actually a better time to plant than spring. To be more comprehensive the best period is from September through to Christmas. The soil temperature almost never drops below 40 degrees in almost half of the united states and in the other half it will take 3 months into the fall before it gets below the 40 degrees, this time scale gives the plants ample time to get their roots well established below ground, ready for the dormant period.

In the fall you have a cool moist season, followed by a dormant season, then followed by another cool moist season before the heat and stresses of summer.

I would be sure to use a root stimulating fertilizer, containing microbial fungi. Definitely mulch (about 2-4 inches) over the root ball. I might recommend staking the trees if they will be in a windy location. Many fruit trees are also the target of rabbits and mice. They chew on the bark in the early spring to get water. Wrap the trunks with paper trunk wrap.

Don’t do your pruning this fall. Wait until the spring, as you will likely have some twig die back.

I also think that you might have some problems with the peach, cherries and plums. Those plants tend to be a little tender in zone 5.

Keep them all watered until Halloween, and maybe as late as thanksgiving if the fall is dry.

You might find this video on fall planting helpful!

I hope that this helps
Good luck-

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Dogwood Tree Re-Potting

October 31, 2012 10:25 am
posted by Martin Boyle

Helen asks…

Dogwood tree,How do you re-pot a 2-3 year old bare root Dogwood tree?

This is a flowering dogwood that has sprouts on almost every bud and a couple coming from the very top.
It is only about a half inch at the flare above the roots and 3` tall. The roots look well formed and hair roots spread nicely.
I need to pot this and keep in a greenhouse over the winter and plant in the spring.
What do I use to put in my 5 gallon bucket? Any additive?
My last one was potted in topsoil from Home Depot as suggested by a local nursery.
It is dying fast. What am I doing wrong?

Martin Boyle answers:

Dogwood tree re-potting. Don’t use straight top soil. Whenever we would plant trees, we would always use peat moss. It lightens the soil, and helps retain moisture. Also, add some Hollytone. Dogwood trees love acidity, and Hollytone adds it to the soil.

I would use about 1/2 soil & 1/2 peat moss. Add Hollytone according to the directions, be sure not to use too much. Keep the tree watered and outside for the summer. Don’t let it get too dry, but at the same time, don’t drown it.

Be careful when you put it in the greenhouse. Make sure the greenhouse doesn’t get too hot, or it will confuse the tree, making it leaf out in winter.

Here are some interesting facts about the Dogwood tree!

Did you know Dogwood twigs were used by pioneers to brush their teeth. They would peel off the bark, bite the twig and then scrub their teeth. Because of its fine grain which made it hard and tough, people  used it to make walking canes,skewers, golf club heads,

There Is A Legend

At the time of Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus nailed upon it, sensed this.

In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering Jesus said to the tree:
” Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember.”


For more information visit :

Good luck!

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

February 2018
« Aug    
Contact Us
AJM Dream Gardens,
Martin Boyle
Leadgate,Consett,County Durham,
Phone:       01207591109/07803048522 /