Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Glimmer of Hope

One stormy weather sometime November 2015, a disaster came to our backyard brought about by the strong winds. A tree that we planted over two (2) years ago was damaged by the storm. A major branch was split from the main trunk but fortunately with the help of its thick foliage, it was kept hanging to its dear life.

Our tree is an African Sumac (Rhus lancea) and its characteristics are its lush and long, thinnish, hairless, dark-green, trifoliate leaves with smooth margins. The tree can reach up to 8 meters in height and about 5 meters spread on its branches. it's slightly thinner trunk has a graceful, weeping form and dark, fissured bark. I would say that I was a major contributor of this accident because I never realized that its lush leaves and branches is much heavier than it's trunk could carry. I neglected it for a long time of not trimming the branches down.

In order to save the tree I have to reattach the split branch in some ways. I trimmed down all its branches to a minimum so that binding together the branches is much easier. I went online to get some ideas how to save trees with broken or split branches caused by storms and found some ideas that might be applicable to our tree. The most common is to attach back the branches together with a washer, bolt and a screw. This will make the tree look more cyborg. I also asked our gardener who gave us the tree and helped us plant it and he also suggested the same process. At first we bound the branches together and he said that if this branch would propagate some growth after like 6 months, then we can go ahead and permanently join the branches with a washer, bolt and screw.

This is how our tree looks like after binding the branches back together.

Overall, this is how our tree looks like right now.

It actually survived the Las Vegas winter (no snow so far) and the leaves on the fallen branch were still green. Looking closely on the affected branch, I noticed some buds coming out. I told myself then that this tree will survive.
Here are some growth that I saw this morning:

You can actually see the small sprouts that came out from the branches. If this will continue to grow like this then probably in a couple of months, I will permanently attach the damaged branch to its main trunk.
If we'll be lucky enough, the tree would look like this after attaching the bolt and screw:

I'm learning some new interesting things about trees and plants. Just like humans, if you break a limb, you bind it back with braces. Crossing my fingers that we will have a cyborg African Sumac tree in our backyard.