We Cannot Believe Everything in Books, and other events.

David Beeson, on the RED ALERT for high winds day. 18th February.

We have three English walnut trees, Juglans regia. Two are over 100 years of age, the third probably 50 years old. We now have two in the ground.

Today has been a most unusual day as the strongest storm winds in over 30 years have been inflicted on Southern UK. Winds of up to 122 mph (200kph) have been recorded just south of us, off the Isle of Wight. Locally gusts were probably far less, around 70mph.

Walnuts are recorded as having taproots, but that is emphatically incorrect as I discovered today with the youngest walnut showing off its root formation – netted and sparse.

Our fallen walnut with zero sign of any taproot. Clearly the chalk is just below the surface here.
Walnut from the south.

Indeed, looking at the root ball, it is understandable why it fell, as it is being latterly held by very few roots. Yet the tree itself appeared healthy above ground, although it always produced very little fruit.

Perhaps the plant was ‘telling me off’ as I had asked a tree surgeon to trim it only two months ago, with him persuading me to leave it alone. It will be very well trimmed soon!

The root ball will be the issue as we would need a digger to take it out, something that would ruin a chunk of the garden. Hopefully, with the trunk removed, it will fall back into its hole and I can then infect it with some edible fungal* spawn (in the refrigerator for another job) and have it decayed away.

*www.rusticmushrooms.co.uk

Meanwhile, what other news? Well, the local hive bees and an occasional bumble bee are enjoying our thousands of croci and snowdrops. The frogs have come and gone, with not a single animal spotted, and spawned. There are fewer spawn masses than in the past, but I hope the major cleaning out of the pond in the autumn will allow a high survival of the resulting tadpoles. Wild daffodils are coming into flower around two weeks earlier than I usually expect.

Keep safe, David

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