Sustainable WNC

The Gateway to Sustainability in Western North Carolina

Archive for April, 2007

Survivor- Asheville

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Who will survive? It looks pretty rough out there. Ok, maybe “pretty” isnt a good adjective to use in this context. Let’s just say its rough out there if you were a hopeful fruiting flower. I stopped by Edible Park which holds the most diversity of fruit trees I know of to assess the effects of the 20 degree mornings and despite a few attempts at covering some sensitive plants, all the fruit that had set and existing flowers at the Edible park were dead. A lot of the foliage is dead as well. The mulberries, grapes, figs and kiwis are crispy critters. A good way to determine whether your fruit trees will set fruit after a freeze is to pinch a flower and if it is brown inside it is finito. I was hopeful that some of the late flowering blooms that were still in pink or a tight cluster would have squeaked by, but they had been scorched as well. I hold all my hopes in the nuts, persimmons, and my good ol’ trusty medlar who havent put out any blooms as of yet. Curiously, persimmons and medlars are two fruits that must blet before becoming palatable.

On another front I attended a crowded meeting of the Western North Carolina Bee club this Monday (visit their website as many are concerned that the tulip poplar harvest(really the meat and potatoes for our local bees) could well have been adversely effected and to what extent we will soon find out. Much of the nectar and honey flow has been interrupted and it is strongly advised to start feeding your bees until the plants can bounce back. One thing I learned at the bee meeting is plants have 2 leaf buds and one flower bud. The second leaf bud being a back up to the first being annihilated. The flower bud only being secondary to the plants immediate survival so there is no backup. I’m curious as to what happens if the second round of buds were to be frosted? Anybody know? Please send a comment.

I’m very interested in finding plants that are best adapted to environments and when I say environments it should be assumed that “changing” best defines that word these days. I must ask myself which food plants are going to be adapted to the increasing weather extremes. It seems that peaches, pears and cherries, with their overzealous propensity to bloom before all others, may become plants only grown in greenhouses, arboretums and other plant zoos.

So I put this out to all in this time of opportunity that has been laid upon us. If you know or hear of a fruit tree or bush that is a survivor after this freeze, please let me know. It will be very important to try to propagate these varieties.