Taun Beddes 0:01
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Homegrown Horticulture podcast.
On today's episode we talk about what's wrong with Kwanzan Cherry. Then also we have two interviews from Savannah Peterson, a horticulturist with the Central Utah Water Conservancy District. She talks about irrigation and programs to get money back for re-landscaping your yard.
I was recently called to look at flowering Kwanzan Cherry at a neighbor's house. The tree was 78 years old and in the past has looked relatively healthy. And when it bloomed in the spring was quite pretty. But this spring, only about half the tree flowered. And once it was done flowering, it only had a couple of healthy branches. And so when I look at a tree or a shrub or another plant, I have a rough checklist I go through to help me narrow down what might be wrong with whatever I'm looking at. Oftentimes, just look at the yard in its entirety. How well is it maintained? How green is the grass? Are there weeds everywhere? This can give me some clues as to what might be going on. The first thing I noticed is that the grass is very green as compared to the neighbor's. It was recently fertilized but I don't think this has much to do with why the cherry is struggling. The next thing I noticed is that there's dandelions in the lawn, and so they haven't used a lawn weed killer. This can be important because a lot of times we see problems with trees and lawns where a weed and feed or another lawn weed killer has been applied. The next thing I checked was irrigation. The lawn is very green, and when I knelt down by the tree trunk, both of my knees were wet. This could indicate that the tree is getting too much water. When that happens, the water penetrates into the soil and drives oxygen and atmosphere out. This is bad for roots and can make the tree unhealthy and more susceptible to a number of root diseases. I next looked at the overall health of the trunk and branches. The first thing I noticed was that there was a lot of Southwest winter injury. This is where the sun heats the trunk up on the south and west side of the tree in the winter. As the bark heats up, it causes sap flow and at night the sap freezes and bursts the cells in the conductive tissue and over time the bark will start to slough off. Even though the bark hadn't fallen off yet, I noticed that when I cut some of the bark off that the conductive tissue underneath was in fact dead. I also cut some of the bark off at a very shallow angle on a couple of different spots in the tree. In both cases, the conductive tissue was either brown or light green, which wasn't a good indication that the tree was really healthy. With how many branches that had not leafed out, the Southwest winter injury, and the condition of the conductive tissue underneath the bark, I recommended to the homeowners that they might give it another couple of weeks to see if it forms any more leaves. I really don't think it will. But if it doesn't form any leaves, the silver lining is that fruit wood, especially cherry wood, makes great wood for smoking meat. And so the next best use for the tree will be smoking some meat for the summer so that the neighbors can enjoy it. I recommended to the homeowners that they dial back their irrigation a bit, especially since we're in a drought. Should they want to replant the tree, there are many species that would work. But some off the top of my head included many varieties and cultivars of crab apples because they're so adapted to our soils and they bloom so beautifully, and newer ones actually don't produce a lot of fruit. Or hawthorns because they have the same characteristics in being very strong trees. Thanks for listening, and I hope we do it again sometime.
And there's certain things you recommend that people do so that they can be successful. And the first one starts with the sprinkler clock.
One term is sprinkler clock. Another term that more people might