This week and next week we are talking about how trees survive the winter. First up, deciduous trees.
This winter has been unusual with its mild temperatures and lack of precipitation; regardless, deciduous trees are not capable of surviving winter conditions without dropping their leaves first. Going dormant during this period is what allows them to survive another year.
Dormancy is also a good time to start thinking about grafting. Fruit trees, for example, are grafted in the spring before trees have a chance to leaf out again. Grafting is a way to join two (or more) cultivars of the same species (or closely related species), thereby blending the traits of each individual. This is a common horticultural practice, but it can also be done by anyone interested in creating unique combinations of fruit trees or other plants. Many of our urban street trees are ornamental varieties of fruit trees, but that doesn’t mean that fruiting branches can’t be grafted onto them. Doing such a thing clandestinely is the work of Guerilla Grafters.
- EarthSky: Why Trees Shed Their Leaves
- Michigan State University Extension: How Do Trees Survive in the Winter?
- University of Minnesota Extension: Grafting and Budding of Fruit Trees
This episode aired on Radio Boise from February 19 – 25, 2018.