Underfoot and Out of Sight? Pay Attention!

Dec 15, 2021 | 0 comments

One Cryptomeria Japonica Posing as Two

Ours, for the most part, is what you might call “a mature garden.”  My father planned the landscaping in the late 1960s with Dr. J. Paul Clark and his son, Steve, and by the time my folks retired here in 1972, more than one hundred rhododendrons graced the perimeter of the property.  Toward the northeast corner a cypress-looking tree, a cryptomeria japonica, was planted surrounded by rhododendrons.  We love that little island at the end of the lawn and call it “the round garden” but, frankly, don’t give it much energy or thought.

Over the years the cryptomeria has grown tall and stately and appears to have split into a double trunk.  Surrounded as it is by huge rhodies, we don’t look at its earthly beginning very often, but our Garden Girls alerted us recently that there might be a bit of trouble brewing with that tree.  About three feet up from the ground, near the “split” of the trunk, you can look down into a hollow,  But, more worrisome they thought, was the large fungus growing at the base of the tree.

We called Arbor Care and yesterday Austin came to take a look.  I can’t begin to explain the details, but suffice it to say that there is greater “trouble” underground than above.  The root system of the “conk” as he called that fungus-like growth, will eventually envelop the tree’s roots, weakening them over time.  Of more immediate concern is the top of the tree where the force of wind or storm could topple one of the sides of the tree — probably right onto our chicken coop.  He assured me, however, that The hollow trunk below the split is not of particular concern.

One Tree Has Become Two

He felt that the tree, despite the fungus situation, has a good many years left if we take stabilizing measures — sooner rather than later.  So, hopefully before the next big wind threatens, Arbor Care will install a cable toward the top of the tree, anchoring the weaker side to the stable half and all should be well.  At least for awhile.

My take-away, though, beyond a big sigh of relief at being able to save this tree for the foreseeable future, is the amazing realization that all sorts of things (beyond the life of the mole people) are happening underground as well as above.  And right here in our garden, too!   Who knew?  When I went back to take a picture of the outward manifestation of this huge fungal problem, though, I found not a trace of the conk. Perhaps Austin took it with him to get some input from his colleagues.  And perhaps more information will be forthcoming.

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