Tree Shock - rebound.... TREEMAN?
Not to negate the human suffering at all whatsoever but one thing that really surprised me through all of this I was the tree shock from... the salt I guess?
I've looked online all over and can't find information on this phenomenon. West STX the trees with leaves (other than sea grapes and palms) are rust red, and falling off.
I wonder, what the recovery time is for trees with no leaves baking in our Caribbean sun. % of survivor trees. How long would it take for the trees in STT and STJ to get their leaves back? A month? Many months? Years?
For those here after Hugo, what can your report? Sorry to dredge up those memories.
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Trees will adjust and will re-foliate..Trees only need to be in leaf 10-12 weeks to make enough food (sugar) for the entire year. The rest of the time they are storing the food as starch to be used to combat other stresses in their lives.
defoliation; then the the re-leafs using the stored supplies. If the tree naturally flowers before leafing (like our dogwoods, redbuds, pears, peach, etc) that too may occur. We had several Bradford pears and redbuds flower on top of torn/brown leaves after Matthew last year.
Torn branches and leaders need to be pruned back to nodes to help sealing and compartmentalization. Irregardless, there will be immense epicormic growth soon and even more during the next growing season. When the tree is ripped apart (heavily pruned) it reacts by putting out a lot of new growth so that its food production can be back where it needs. It generally takes 3 growing cycles (18 months here in SC) and low dose pruning to help direct an adequate new canopy.
Pollution of the soil will be a problem: petrol, sewage, chemicals and seawater. A lot of these things will stay in the soil even with heavy dilution. gypsum can help capture some of the salt. Growing certain plants like sunflowers will help clean out a lot of the toxins. You can also mitigate with a slurry of charcoal.
I already see leaves coming back in some trees. I could see several trees yesterday that already were full of new leaves! I was one of the highlights of my day for sure. We are far far from green, but it's a start! Up until yesterday, I hadn't seen a single leaf that wasn't dead.