Its so hot in Kansas....

dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)July 26, 2012

A little humor to take the edge off are garden worries.

IT'S SO HOT KANSAS....the birds have to use pot holders to pull the worms out of the ground.

....the trees are whistling for dogs.

....the best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance. water comes from both taps. can make sun tea instantly. learn that a seat buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.

....the temperature drops below 90 F and you feel a little chilly. discover that in July it only takes two fingers to steer a car (one on each hand). actually burn your hand opening the car door. actually break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 5:30 A.M.

....your biggest motorcycle wreck fear is, "what if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death"?

....the potatoes cook under ground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter.

....the cows are giving evaporated milk. are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.

..IT'S SO DRY in Kansas that the Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling, the Methodists are using wet wipes, the Presbyterians are giving rain checks, and the Catholics are praying for wine to turn back into water.

On the downside I lost my first conifer to heat related issues yesterday.. Larix decidua 'Horstmann's Recurva'. New planting this year and I mite add had plenty of water. Just to many 100+ days I figure for a fist year trying to acclimate. I also noticed all Acers with brunt and dropping leaves. Others in the mix are Thuja o.'Degroot's Spire', Picea o. 'Skylands and 'Tom Thumb Gold' with burn tip issues. Considering all the 100+ days and no rain I am looking fairly good but watering every day to look that way. The last week has been a killer causing a big melt down with all plants struggling to some degree. Everything I am now growing is pre-border line. Another round of the same is coming back this weekend so they say. This could put my garden over the top. If so I will not rebuild. This ceases to be fun anymore, in fact it sucks, and I will be looking elsewhere for interesting challenges.


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Dave, The first half of your post was fun to read. The last part...not so much. Keep the faith, this is temporary.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 9:15AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Consider yourself lucky with estabished plants

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 9:41AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

estabished plants???

Not doing well either.

I am seeing needle drop on an 8 year old Picea p 'Baby Blue Eyes' today. It will have to be removed.

My micro climate which has been my protection has become my nemesis. My plants grow in a swale, low tract of ground, which now is a cooking chamber.

We had a cold front move through last night. .03 of rain and they predict 99 today. Some cold front.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 10:29AM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

'Horstmann's Recurved'...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 10:31AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

An interesting thing about Larix is that a small Larix mastersiana in a trying spot is seeming to be more heat and drought tolerant than a much larger Larix X eurolepis in a cooler, semi-shaded spot.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 5:40PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

being as optimistic as possible.. in your relatively small garden

every loss is an opportunity for something new..

of course.. i doubt that will be much solace ...

will you replace with the same.. or branch out???


    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 7:06PM
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I lost a Picea orientalis Tom Thumb(new this spring, planted in late sun after 6pm but too windy for it). I also lost a Picea glauca Burning Well,(new planting), and a Crytomeria japonica Tansu Sport (new plant too). I have two Pinus parviflora that are struggling with needle scorch and may replace them because I don't like the look. These are 10 year old or more plants. I am getting another Tom Thumb and Burning Well but will be moving them to different areas of the yard where I know they will do okay. I have a total of about 10 new plants and all the rest seem to be doing okay with a little leaf burn on a yellow Taxus and an Abies koreana Silberperl but the abies seems to be coming out of it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:14PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

David, Larix x eurolepis is now Larix x marschlinsii.
This is a cross between Larix kaempferi and Larix decidua.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 1:43AM
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I think I jumped on Dave's last note about the heat as well but I shadow his comments. Call it just bad timing or whatever but when I began this extensive yard remodel and landscaping job 4 years ago I never anticipated what climatic pressures I would face in trying to re-establish the new gardens.

Three years ago when I finished the first re-planting and lost quite a few conifers to summer heat I chalked that up to inexperience in working with exotic conifers in this area. I knew I was bringing in some varietals that were risky for my climate zone but thought I had a micro-climate plan to get around mother nature. And I made the typical mistake of doing a lot of my conifer planting in the more traditional springtime. All mistakes.

Then I re-grouped last year and brought everything in the fall of 2010 so it could better acclimate by spring 2011. But then I battled 62+ days of 100+ temps - the hottest in Oklahoma history - and it was a disaster. Again everyone told me I just wasn't watering enough to carry them through the heat peaks so this time I laid in a complete drip system for every individual tree and spray systems for the general flower beds. Once again I laid in all new plant materials to replace the ones that had died, picking a lot more conservative varietals this time. I also made the move to younger 3-5 year old stock on many of the larger specimens hoping they would acclimate quicker than older stock. You really can't go much younger than that outdoors here because 2-3 year old grafts just can't hardly survive the extreme heat.

So now we come to spring 2012. First, it was a very mild winter here which was great for me because all my stock was settling in nicely and spreading out their root systems. Then we had the first real spring in Oklahoma we've had in years. Most of the last 5-10 years we've gone from cold harsh winters right into summer heat, but this year we had very mild temps and everything came in very lush. So I was excited for the first time in years hoping if I could just get one year of mild temsps in the summer as well, then my newer stock could finally get established with some deeper roots. Well that was not to be.

While we didn't get as hot as early, the harsh heat did finally arrive. As of today we just crossed our 24th day above 100 with no end in sight. There is a little break coming in the forecast where we only are expected to be over 100 four of the next seven days, but the real damage is now beginning to be seen.

In the first month we went hot and began to see consistant 100 days with 80 nights, I lost 3-4 smaller newer plants pretty quickly. But you usually expect some of the smaller newer guys to fall. Then I went 30-40 days with almost no real damage. A little needle burn here and there but as would see the damage begin I tried to put up protective shade cloth to give them a break. But let me tell you guys something. If there is one thing I have learned very well this last three years it is I have a very good understanding now of the incremental difference between a few high 90 days with 70 degree nights to recover, and dealing with consistant blast furnace heat during the days and 80+ night temperatures. There is a tremendous difference in how a conifer's needles can handle the temperatures at 95 day after day versus 100, versus 105, and versus 110+.

While our total 100+ day count will not beat last year's records, our peak temperature records did. We had 3 consecutive days over 110 and another one two days later. I saw a bi-color spruce that had a 3' cedar wall a few feet away from it, drop all of it's needles in 48 hours above that wall height. It was the most bizzare thing I ever saw. The tree was doing fine, water drip soaked every 2-3 days. Then the three day 110 degree breezes went through and the next day during watering all of the needles above the 3' wall just fell off exposing the white dead buds.....they were literally cooked off the tree. It was the strangest looking thing I ever saw. But that three days of 112-113 started a landslide of damage now that cannot be stopped.

I'm seeing lots of needle burn now in trees that have been in the ground for quite a while...mostly finer needled trees or golden colored varietals. Most of my Picea abies are now browning. My Pinus strobus and Pinus parviflorsa are all burning now as well. And this is regardless of shade cloth or how much water you give them. There are just temperatures they cannot survive when exposed for several days in a row.

So like Dave, what I am realizing is what used to be the exception on extreme heat and drought summers, is for now the norm. I kept thinking the next year would be when it breaks but that hasn't happened now for 3 years and no-one knows when this current cycle of heat domes over the midwest plains is going to end. So I too have begun replacing all my conifer losses now with other hopefully still interesting tree stock, but tree varietals that are much more accustomed to desert type conditions. It's sad but what can you do.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:28AM
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As a follow up side note to my last DARK note, there are some pleasant surprises in the middle of this horrible heat wave as well. Mother nature always throws us a curve just when we think we've got it all figured out.

As noted by many, it is usually the golden varietals that take the big hits in heat waves but I have found one consistant exception to that rule and it's my 8' Cedrus deodara 'Golden Cascade'. This tree sits in full western sun all day and it currently has about 6" of bright yellow new growth on it with no burn side effects present.

The other is my 5' tall 7' wide Cedrus deodara 'Cream Puff'. This tree is my pride and joy. I've had it in the ground for 6 years, again facing full west sun, and it's darkest colors are a mint green and it's tips are cream to light pale burning what so ever. And people wonder why I have so many deodaras.

Go figure.......


    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:54AM
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