Have folks taken any special precautions to protect your plantings?
Any casualties yet?
I haven't gotten around to getting any automated irrigation going this year, and have a bunch of 1st year trees plus everything I had before. When its not too hot to be out there, I've tried to water - but dang its hot out there.
Hopefully my young grafts will survive. I had great success rate with my persimmon grafting, 100% so far except maybe the really thin chocolate scions that I collected. They're just leafing out though. Hopefully they don't mind a few days in the triple digits.
I have some seedling apples in pots so I moved them into the shade and within range of the lawn sprinklers. But I've already grafted most of them so I'm not all that attached to them.
I have been doing some deep watering on my young apples, pears, grapes, cornelian cherry and plums in the mornings.
But since this is probably the new normal, if something dies, that will just make space for something else that is more tolerant of heat.
So far not too bad. I probably lost my Cardinal persimmon, one of 2 Giombo grafts got knocked off by the wind. Some tips wilted and crisped on some things. The goumi went from starting to get fully ripe, to overripe and flaccid and it was looking like a bumper crop. The black currants fruit may be thrashed too.
Feijoa loved it and grew significantly, jujube seems unfazed. Young citrus seem to have liked the weather as well.
Dead new asparagus plants.
The newly grafted American persimmons thought it was awesome.
I just thought of a new procedure I'm going to try. When I go on vacation during this, the hottest part of the year,
I'm going to prop up panels of plywood in front of my plants, so they don't get heated so badly.
We'll see if it works when I get back.
Yeah, my persimmon grafts mostly seem to be doing pretty well.
The black currant crop is looking like a total loss 🙁
The jam I made last year took me well into spring.
Honeyberries have held up surprisingly well, and the blueberries too. Ripening earlier.
We went to the beach this weekend (Arch Cape). The branch tips of nearly all the evergreens within 10 miles of the beach are dead - the entire forest. Pretty shocking. Will be interesting to see if the trees recover. If not it will be a huge number of dead trees.
The plywood panels helped. Dave M's comment reminds me that I have noticed a huge number of native Rhododendrons looking burnt to a crisp. I have heard ecologists talk about a new group of "native" plants with the new climate system. We'll see what happens.
Keeping everything cool really improves success. Nobody ever thinks how proper managing of room temperature as we sleep at night inside our own walls can benefit us as gardeners but speaking for myself I can't tend to outdoors if I'm too hot during the day or too tired. So I count my fruit tree blessings to an air conditioner that works most of the time and when it doesn't I have to reflect all the sun away by drawing the blinds tight.
I also have an east facing brick exterior wall and a huge shade tree (turkish nut hazel) on the west. Here's how the brick works: The bright mornings absorb the BTU contents and delay the radiation heat from entering those east walls. Then by the time it's time to go to bed the bricks release the energy that was accumulated just at the cooler time of day when it's okay to open up my blinds and all the glass of every window that counts to me. One on the east and my own west side bedroom window allowing for the cross breeze (west-east) and stored energy to escape fast enough.
I'm still discovering/experiencing damage to my orchard, garden, and landscaping from the record June heat wave. The drought conditions definitely aren't helping, either.
All of the Beauty Japanese plums and quite a few Shiros were lost; fortunately the trees themselves seem to fine. We lost a lot of apples to sunburn, and it's still unknown what the quality of the remaining apples will be. Anne raspberry plants were burned, but they seem to be attempting to regrow. A lot of the first-ripening blueberries along with some leaves were burned, but it still turned out to be a great harvest.
Since we're focusing on watering the orchard and garden, the rest of the trees have to fend for themselves. A few younger Fraser and Douglas firs are already dead or dying. There's a great deal of needle-tip dieback on our biggest Douglas firs, and we may lose some of our big cedars. The time may soon come when the Pacific Northwest is no longer a haven for evergreens.
Planting apple trees that can tolerate extreme heat wasn't one of the criteria and didn't even cross my mind. I so hope that 113 degrees doesn't come around again.
My pole beans suffered too. Even Fortex, which has been bulletproof in the past. The are hollow and dry. I assume its from the heat. I also didn't pick them as regularly as I would have preferred.
None of our native long needle pines in the area seemed to turn brown. A huge amount of damage to native firs almost everywhere near streets.
My round Japanese pears next to my driveway and my street look really good with the most ever that I allowed to let crop. The hand and pen are in front of the 'nijiseiki' branch with pears in a giant arch bent all the way down to eye level from 15 feet high. This resulted ending in front of my experimental pyrus betulafolia graft (see smaller leaves away from hand). I avoided heat stress by amply watering. The early '2-2-40' Japanese rootstock is plenty good for production but every few years I also need to apply chelated calcium and the trace minerals to keep both fruiting cultivars in top flavor.
We've had some off-beat weather in the past, and my wife and I have certainly noticed unusual fluctuations over the past 22 years here in SW Washington, but this was truly a whacky year weather-wise. It was at least 2 years ago that I told my wife that we've already gone over the fulcrum in terms of global warming. The amplitude of events will only increase, and the natural feedback loops of the changes will accentuate what some people talk about as "minor shifts". It's one planet, and all the weather patterns are not only interlinked, but tiny humans are apparently oblivious to ocean currents and how they vitally affect the land masses that they pass. So anyway.... I'm always so gratified when I hear political representatives of various nations "pledging" to cut their carbon outputs by "X percent" by the year 2050 or 2060 when they have only increased their carbon outputs since their last pledges. As usual, I digress.
The 1st heat wave in late June really did a number here. Nearly all the plants were negatively affected. The day after the 100+ degree day, I opened the front door and found that the upper leaves of the salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) on the north side of the house had all been toasted. They would have made a good tea, I suppose. Our solitary plant of the native species, Rhododendron macrophyllum (planted by the previous parcel owners), had bad leaf-tip burn never observed in the previous 2 decades. Black currants (Ribes nigra) were desiccated on the plants. Numerous seedling apples and pears were toasted. Three seedlings of the pear 'Duchesse d'Angouleme' that I had planned to graft to an OHxF rootstock this summer were fried. Countless other plants either bought the farm, bit the big one, met their maker, or found some other metaphoric way to die. ...Ah well. At least there's always tomorrow!
I made several controlled apple crosses this spring, before the first heat wave. As I expected, some crosses didn't "take" because of incompatibility factors. A few took, but they weren't among the first pollinated fruits on a given tree to "set", so when the natural "June fruit drop" occurred, I wasn't terribly surprised to have them fall. A few hybridized apples that survived the heat wave were so desiccated by the heat that, with watering, they persisted for a few more weeks, but never recovered. Early in my hybridizing, I emasculated 3 flowers on 3 different apple trees and pollinated [or "pollenized", as the horticulturists say) them with pollen that I harvested from the apple 'Zabergau Reinette'. A couple of days later it dawned on my that 'Zabergau Reinette' was actually a triploid apple according to one of my references. I figured those were a priori losses. Strangely enough, 2 of the 3 crosses that I made with it are still hanging in there and may... just may... reach maturity. One is 'Zabergau Reinette' on 'Colvis Spice' (a russeted selection of 'Golden Delicious'. The other is 'Zabergau' on 'Wynooche Early'. As of the moment, they're still hanging in there. I also have 3 controlled crosses using a selection of Malus sieversii (--the "original apple" from central Asia--) which are persisting. Two fruits on M. sieversii are pollinated by 'Golden Nugget' and 'Peck's Pleasant'. I also used M. sieversii on 'Court Pendu Plat'. I have a few other apples from controlled crosses developing, including a couple on the tasty 'Kidd's Orange Red' which was bred in New Zealand. I'll take whatever matures, and I'll definitely have to protect them from the kind of heat and desiccation that affected my apples this year.
Given the reality of the changing climate, I find myself trying to plan ahead as the weather grows worse and more unpredictable. We're fortunate to be on a private well, but I find that one of my greatest fears at the moment to be "the day the well runs dry". I've seen enough old westerns to know what that means.
Hey. Life can still be good! It just requires Good People to be thoughtful, helpful, generous, and optimistic. We're all in this together. 🙂
Looking forward, always, to tomorrow!
Oh. Er. I guess that this would be a belated P.S. (post scriptum)....
This is probably the first thing that I've ever written that started with a P.S., so please pardon my unsophisticated peasant blundering....
In regard to the controlled apple crosses that I made earlier this year, I pollinated 2 flowers of Malus fusca crabapple with pollen from the semi-dwarfing rootstock Malus domestica 'EMLA 26'. I had also at the same time made the reciprocal cross of 'EMLA 26' x M. fusca. Sadly, the latter cross survived the June heat wave, but with subsequent unnatural heat it leapt to its death. I had wanted F2 seedlings from both crosses to selectively interbreed in a far distant, unlikely, but hopeful future. I guess that for the present, I'll have to just work with the "half-breed" M. fusca plants in searching for a locally adapted semi-dwarfing rootstock, one that does well on our heavy, wet clay and high perched water table in the winter and spring, and the typical warm to hottish summer drought season. Once it was typical: now, apparently "normal" climate has been tossed aside. Nevertheless, I hope to remake the reciprocal cross again in the future.
Somebody has to do this kind of experimenting. Most of the land grant colleges which had once trialled crops for local adaptability have since been snared by the corporations which like to patent plants and rake in the dough.
I have said too much. Why can't I just shut the hell up?!
That's a noble effort that you're making. The most I've done is "find" natural varieties and see if I like them. I wish you great luck in finding varieties that work.
Thanks for the encouragement. In the realm of apples, I don't expect to make a ripple. However, when I taste an apple that was either planted or not, all that I care about is the taste. I don't care if it's big and beautiful or not: what I care about is the taste and texture. Last year, much to my surprise, I discovered a volunteer apple on our property that's not far from the house but that was in an area I hadn't been into for awhile. I had to fashion a crook to pull some fruits down and was able to get a few. The others that I couldn't catch were lost in the sword ferns, salal, wild roses, and other things in the understory. I absolutely loved the fruits that I was able to capture and eat! They're the kind that I like: late maturing, crisp, firm, and savory. They're on the medium-small side, but I'll leave it to industry to make the big, beautiful, and bland apples. Because it was a volunteer on our property, I called it 'Claythwaite'. That's my nickname for our property given the predominance of heavy clay soil on the north end of our property. I hope to make a graft this winter. I just need to get some quality rootstocks for spring grafting. No, it's not the greatest, newest apple. It's just the kind that I love, and that's good enough for me. I like an apple that's so amenable to my taste buds that I can't stop eating them. It's a real bummer when there aren't any left. To me, personally, that's the mark of a darn yummy apple!