BROCCOLI BILLY in Cedar Key
11 JULY 2015
I wrote an earlier article on light and its effects on plants (day length) but some other factors come to mind. What causes trees to change the color of their leaves then drop them to the ground? When the earth rotates light brings warm temps. While darkness brings cooler temps. When the earth moves closer to the sun we get warmer and when it gets farther away we get cooler. These two rhythms are the existence of all life on earth. Plants have been around for millions of years and have adapted to these rhythms (we sleep at night and wake by day). We have created artificial light to work the 2nd. & 3rd. Shifts. We all know about jet lag (I always lag behind but never lag forward for some reason) and what it does to our ‘internal’ time clock.
Plants are sensitive to light and temperatures and act accordingly, thus when things are right the tree with holds nutrients [sap] and the leaves die and drop to the ground. I’ve been shot at and I know how to drop to the ground. When light gets longer and temperatures rise sap moves up the tree, the buds swell and a new leaf begins to grow. I was raised near a “sugar bush” and in spring with snow still on the ground, holes would be drilled in the trees and taps driven. The buckets would be hung and covered to keep rainwater out and as the sap moved to the top of the tree a small portion would drip into the buckets. I have actually drank sap out of these buckets and it tastes like weak maple syrup. I think it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. I used to watch a working sugar house and the evaporator is amazing.
Plants react to the changing daytime position of the sun (phototropism) and move accordingly. At my age I don’t like to move much as it usually means work. Some plants like full sun while some like full shade. If you really want to mess up a plant put it under lights 24-7 for 4 weeks and see what happens. In my seedling room I control the photo-period to what is occurring outdoors so when they go to the greenhouse they have no shock. Now that I have kept you in the dark . . .
Light your Ligustrum . . . . Broccoli Billy
Copyright © by Bill Robinson 2015