This is what the tree looks like at present:
|May 8, 2018: There's hardly a leaf on it. In fact, the tree sported more leaves in January than it does now. The leaves I saw in January surprised and alarmed me, especially when Evan, The Practical Plant Geek, raised the possibility that these adventitious growths might signify a tree in distress.|
|Closer view of the canopy|
I was fairly certain the tree was late in leafing out so I finally faced that concern and waded through the photos I've taken over the last several years. With the possible exception of 2014, it looks as though the tree has never been this bare this late in the season.
|June 10, 2013|
|July 5, 2013, one of the few photos of the tree in flower, when it's in its glory|
|April 29, 2014: I don't have any photos of the tree taken in the May or at any other time in 2014 but it appears as bare in this late April 2014 photo as it is at present.|
|May 29, 2015|
|April 30, 2016|
|May 9, 2017|
So, should I be worried? I asked an arborist about the adventitious growth prior to pruning the tree in January. While he admitted it could be a sign that the tree is in decline, he also said he'd seen trees behaving oddly throughout the area this year in response to our generally warmer winter temperatures and low rainfall. I have my own evidence of anomalies too. The buds on the small cherry tree we recently took out never opened. The peach tree at the bottom of the slope produced only a smattering of flowers before belatedly leafing out. My ornamental pear never lost its leaves during the winter months and also produced few flowers this spring.
Maybe the mimosa will leaf out within the next month. If it fails to leaf out at all, I'll call the arborist back for a consultation later in the year. If it proves to be diseased and I have to cut it down, I'm fairly certain I'll leave the stump in place as I don't think I can risk destabilizing the slope by grinding it out. Maybe I can find a spot elsewhere in the border to plant another tree but it'll probably have to be a small one as my city's "view conservation" ordinance limits the height of any new additions that interfere with a neighbor's view. Maybe we can build an arbor over the patio to provide an alternative source of shade. Despite all my prior complaints about the tree, I really hope I don't have to make any of those decisions.
For other Foliage Follow-ups, visit Pam at Digging. Pam's announced that this is the end of the monthly meme for her but, as she's done a magnificent job driving home the importance of foliage in the garden, I doubt it's the last foliage-centric post for me or other garden bloggers. Thanks Pam!
All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party