I thought I had a pretty good understanding of tree growth, but there is something I'd like to share that is puzzling.
Early this summer (or spring) I had some large trees in the fence row that I wanted to destroy. I really didn't have time to take them down (and haul off all the wood) but wanted to keep them from growing larger.
Knowing that the tree lives or dies on it's xylem and pholem, I girdled the trees with a chain saw. I then sprayed the wounds with herbicide (several times throughout the summer). Some of the trees died, but for a surprising number of trees the foliage remained alive all summer and the trees even put out new shoot growth. Some my son even took a hatchet and chopped the bark away for about 6" all the way around the trunk.
How can this be? I can understand they might not die right away, but healthy all summer long? I've noticed the elms seem to be the toughest (no effect at all from the girdling and herbicide) but some hedge trees also showed similar toughness.
I still expect them to eventually die (how can they live being completely girdled) but I'm wondering if anyone has an explanation as to why they seem healthy all this summer.