Why epicormic growth is a good idea

Epicormic growth – very important for a tree!

In the forest this week I saw a tree that hadn’t developed any epicormic growth on it’s lower trunk….

All of the growth is in the top half of the tree. Maybe in other situations this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but with this tree, it’s perhaps not so great. The trunk isn’t solid – in fact, if you have a look at the base, you can see that at some point long ago part of the main trunk fell. The trunk here is dead and has been decaying for some time – the living part of the tree is wrapped around this at the base, with sturdy healed-over edges, and supporting a good healthy canopy of leaves. But….. the living trunk has holes and is hollowing, and is slightly top heavy on one side, which happens to be on the side that’s slightly downhill. All of this has happened over a very long time, which you can tell by the amount of healing over of the bark edges – they look really rounded over, rather than just a little bit rounded over.

If the tree were to bring some epicormic buds into play, it could develop some branches on its lower trunk before anything happens to the top of the tree in the decades ahead. If anything falls before new branches are established, there may not be enough leaves to capture sunlight, to sustain the growth and needs of the tree. Will the tree develop any epicormic growth on its lower trunk? Only time will tell.

Elsewhere in the forest…..

There’s another tree that’s decided that epicormic growth is definitely what it wants to do! It was haloed over the winter, after being quite crowded by other trees. It already had a low ancient form, but when it got access to more light, wow, it did lots of growing!

So now this tree will be able to improve its vitality, by making more leaves, capturing more sunlight, making more energy, and generally having more resources to decide what to do with. It might decide to grow some of its branches in a certain way, maybe heal over a wound, or develop some of its roots a little more. Or maybe bits of everything. Oaks love having light, and being able to awaken epicormic buds out of dormancy is such a great skill. Epicormic growth – definitely a good idea.