Tree Trouble

We’ve been hit hard. Or hit where it counts at least.

I. One of our steadfast providers, the papaya, has been suffering from something that winds up rotting the roots and lower trunk enough to topple a good number of our trees. Here’s what it looks like:

Do you recognize this? We’re encouraging the universe to send us a diagnosis and a remedy. Hopefully the universe reads our blog.

II. We also suffered an attack on one of our adolescent avocado trees. Some background: In the first year of the foundation’s residency at the reserve, a preexisting and large avocado tree fruited in abundance, to much delight. The following year, however, instead of hearing fat avocados go thump in the night, residents would hear limbs go c-r-a-c-k: the tree was attacked by a beetle that hewed its limbs with cuts as clean as a saw’s.

In the intervening years, a number of new avocado trees have been planted to fill the hole left by the big provider. Which brings me, sadly, to exhibit B:

 

We’re not certain, but my best guess at the moment is that we’re being visited by an old enemigo. We did find a possible culprit on one of the upper branches, and our intern-entomologist (and owl spotter*) Olivia is working to identify a certain beetle, to see if it might have done the damage.

With less than a centimeter of trunk left uncut, we organized an improvisational grafting team. Improvisational because no one of us had substantial grafting experience. I am grateful to Evan, our intern-arborist, who took the lead on this one, despite, I believe, never having attempted a graft before.

Once the cuts were made, we wrapped the cut first in teflon tape and then with a scrap of bicycle tubing.

Finally, strings to secure the top half in place.

We’re giving it extra special water attention in these precious, precarious days following the graft. I’ve no news, yet, as to how this experiment will turn out. Perhaps next week we shall know.

*Olivia took an unbelievable photo of an owl, which Mike, our aspiring ornithologist in residence, believes to be a species not yet known to inhabit these parts. Hopefully one or both of them will post said photo and more information about the species at hand.

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