Toledo Talk

What is going on with plants this year?

We realized a couple of weeks ago that our silver and sugar maples flowered but dropped no seeds. (Naturally, the only ones that have seeds are the box elders, yuck.) Our apples and pears had blooms but have very few baby fruit, but our newly planted peach and apricot trees had tons of flowers that we removed. Now my oldest amaryllis, which has been on the hot screen porch since April, has decided to bloom again! The younger one has put out 9 leaves so it may be getting ready to bloom, too! Has anyone else noted any odd plant behavior this year? What is happening, plant people?

created by nana on Jun 27, 2016 at 09:58:06 am     Comments: 16

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Its been a strange year, The maple trees which drop the helicopter seed dropped nothing this tear, after a bumper crop last year and the cherry tree flowered, but had no cherries.

posted by OldTimer on Jun 27, 2016 at 10:19:29 am     #  

A blurb I found in the interwebs:

"Skipping Years"

Healthy maple trees sometimes skip a year in seed formation, either due to poor pollination or to an exceptionally good growing season the year before. An over-abundance of helicopters indicates the tree experienced stress the previous year. Producing a bumper crop of seeds is the tree’s way of carrying on the species, should the stress continue and the tree die off."

posted by Foodie on Jun 27, 2016 at 10:25:38 am     #  

Thanks for the helicopter info! I didn't mulch this year until last weekend because I had so many helicopters last year that it was like I didn't even mulch as they covered everything. Then this year... zero!

I also, like many, had my tulips pop up in January with the unusually warmer winter - they obviously died off with the first snow and I had no tulips (well 2 or 3 out of about 50 that I planted) blossom this spring to my dismay.

At this point I have thrown in the towel - tired of watering especially with the ridiculous water prices we pay. Yard looks pretty bad and the plants aren't nearly as developed this year. Oh well. I guess this is what its like living in southern California when you get too much sun and not enough rain.

posted by Xbuckeyex on Jun 27, 2016 at 10:32:56 am     #  

Things are weird in our yard as well. Peach tree seems to only have 5 or so peaches where in previous years it might be 50. The mild winter definitely did something... maples are also not dropping anything.

posted by upso on Jun 27, 2016 at 11:07:49 am     #  

At this point I have thrown in the towel - tired of watering especially with the ridiculous water prices we pay.

When you drill down into it, the actual water usage is the smallest part of the bill. My sprinkler has been out for weeks.

posted by justread on Jun 27, 2016 at 11:39:53 am     #  

Probably not related to weather, but our paper birch in our front yard got hit by some birch borer and killed half the tree--more likely it's two trees planted together. I'll have to cut half down, but likely will take both sides down.

We've been in the house for 10 years and we didn't plant it. I'm guessing it's about 20 years old, which sort of fits it's lifespan, I guess. Sad to see it go.

posted by JoeyGee on Jun 27, 2016 at 11:49:21 am     #  

We've had some nice birches over the years.
Could be weather related because a stressed birch is less resistant to the birch borer. They really don't grow much farther south than here, because they tolerate heat and drought so poorly.

posted by justread on Jun 27, 2016 at 12:05:28 pm     #  

Last year the chipmunks ate all my bean plants. This year they are leaving the beans alone but something chewed all the blossoms off my cucumbers. And they were so pretty. I was looking forward to pickles. Also, tomatoes are going crazy! Big and healthy with lots of baby 'maters.

posted by MaryCooksalot on Jun 27, 2016 at 01:11:42 pm     #  

This afternoon's sunny, hot, windy, and low-humidity weather will contribute to the dryness.

Like our Friday and Saturday weather from two weekends ago, it's a little uncommon for us to be this warm and have such low humidity.

Toledo Express Airport:
Jun 27, 2016 3:52 pm
Weather : Fair
Temperature : 91 F
Humidity : 30%
Wind Speed : W 18 mph - Gust 28 mph

Toledo Executive Airport:
Jun 27, 2016 3:53 pm
Weather : A Few Clouds and Breezy
Temperature : 92 F
Humidity : 30%
Wind Speed : W 22 mph - Gust 29 mph

Toledo Suburban Airport:
Jun 27, 2016 4:35 pm
Weather : Fair
Temperature : 92 F
Humidity : 26%
Wind Speed : W 15 mph - Gust 23 mph

But with the low humidity, our temps should cool rapidly this evening.

posted by jr on Jun 27, 2016 at 04:57:31 pm     #  

Early this morning it felt like 100% humidity. Drove around and the car stayed wet. It probably wasn't 100% but what a stark change within hours as the high sun angle and wind combined. Went from swamp to desert in 8 hours.

posted by justread on Jun 27, 2016 at 05:33:09 pm     #  

Many trees, especially certain varieties of apple, are "alternate bearing", just as described. Fruit thinning is a common practice in commercial orchards which grow the alternate bearing varieties. Oaks will often have a heavy mast year followed by almost no acorns at all the following year, then periods of average mast production.

The unusually late cold snap we experienced May 15, May 16 did all kinds of damage to plant tissues, damage which is now becoming apparent. The flower buds on some fruit trees still managed to produce a flower, but were too damaged to form fruit. Some foliage damage occurred as well. Tender foliage buds, on many different kinds of trees and shrubs, which were in an advanced state of development, produced foliage twisted and puckered, It looks very much like herbicide spray drift damage.

This kind of stuff has been reported to many Cooperative Extension offices across the state.

As to the drought - its difficult keeping anything growing. No rain to fill rain barrels either. At my home (Toledo water) I have a summer water rate and a winter water rate. It makes using the irrigation system less costly. I believe the summer rate is based on the previous February quarter water consumption.

posted by holland on Jun 27, 2016 at 05:35:34 pm     #  

Bumper crop of bunny rabbits in my yard. They're munching everything, but as MaryCooksalot noted, they leave things alone after they eat them. We get visited by deer on the regular now, so everything I plant must now be deer-resistant. The blueberries and plum tree from previous years are not going to fare well under these conditions :-(

Thank God for mulberries! I can always cheer myself up under some random street tree at this time of year.

posted by viola on Jun 27, 2016 at 09:17:13 pm     #   1 person liked this

Thanks for the info, everyone! Glad to know we're not alone. :)

Can anyone (Holland?) explain the amaryllis? Should I do the normal resting period after it's done blooming or does this mean it's stressed/dying, too? It's 4 years old and this is the first year that I put it outside, did that do it?

posted by nana on Jun 27, 2016 at 10:16:33 pm     #  

I have got mole holes everywhere. And they have aerated my compost piles from the ground up. As well, as the area around it and disrupted the brick path adjacent to the sidewalk. My garden looks a little pitiful, too

posted by estioney on Jun 28, 2016 at 02:24:48 pm     #  

We had moles almost as bad. I put a trap out last week in the most popular run, and ever since, I don't see evidence of them any more.

I guess the trap is an effective deterrent, lol. Seriously, though, if the ground dries up, do grubs die off? Maybe the moles moved to where people water their yard?

posted by JoeyGee on Jun 28, 2016 at 03:14:27 pm     #  

"Thank God for mulberries! I can always cheer myself up under some random street tree at this time of year."

And the birds love 'em! When I was a kid, my mother always hung the laundry outside on the clotheslines to dry. And, back then all bed sheets were white. I can remember my dear old mom washing the same sheets several times in one day due to the birds and nearby Mulberry trees.

Now, we'd just rinse them and call it tie died.

posted by Foodie on Jun 28, 2016 at 04:13:11 pm     #   1 person liked this