On a raft trip with a fellow arborist and boater, I heard him make a reference to the word “hellball.” When I asked him what he meant by that, he pointed skyward and said, simply, “the sun.” I got the meaning immediately! I hate to admit it folks, but the sun is different. Or the atmosphere between us and the hellball is different, either way, it ain’t good.
Last month I made mention of needle scorch. It has turned into needle TORCH! Cedars, especially coastal varieties, Spruces, true and Douglas firs, dwarf conifers, Coast redwoods, even some pines have really taken the hit this summer.
Picking up a wrench left on my tailgate the other day could send you to the hospital, it was THAT hot! I couldn’t get my orchard ladder off the lid of my chip truck without gloves. I don’t ever remember the ferocity of the hellball being like it is now. When it just peeks over the Cascades first thing in the morning and hits your face, it just hurts, period.
With the staggering loss of trees due to mega fires, and the fact that worldwide we have been running internal combustion engines non-stop 24/7 365 by the billions for the last hundred years or so is gonna come back to haunt all of us sooner or later. The best time to plant a tree was yesterday, so goes the saying…
Do not prune anything right now, it is too easy to overdo it exposing relatively tender interior growth to the hellball. Water on the roots as well as the foliage won’t hurt a thing right now except your pocketbook. Think seriously about water storage on your property for next year, if this winter fizzles as far as rainfall and deep snow, we may be truly screwed next summer. Now would be a great time to head to the nursery to pick out the specimens that are most scorch-resistant. We need to get this big ball of dirt spinning around in space back on the right path and I really believe in my gut that trees are our only hope. Remember, trees are the only reason we can survive on this planet! As always, plant high and often, and steer clear from the hellball as best you can.