Sequoia growing zone?

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by keithdirt, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    norain,

    Actually since I posted this about a week ago, I have stumbled across some new information bearing both "good news and bad". The fact is that there ARE two strains of giant Sequoia that were developed to withstand harder winters. One was developed at the Watnong nursery in New Jersey and is known as "Hazel Smith", guaranteed to thrive in zone 5. The other was devel0ped at the University of Idaho (UOI) and is known as "Idaho Endurance".

    Idaho Endurance has a fascinating history. Supposedly three small seedlings were donated to the university by no other than John Muir himself in the early 20th century. They thrived and grew to be quite large until a terrible freeze in the 1940s, I think it was. It was -45F for THREE nights in a row! Two died but the third lived and continued to thrive. The UOI sought and obtained registration for the cultivar hence the name "Idaho Endurance". Unfortunately, a professor at UOI told me something like "Unfortunately I don't have a way to get you any plants". He gave me the name of a nursery in Oregon who obtained some seeds. They told me that although they have a specimen growing there, they have no plans to propagate or sell them. :(

    As for Hazel Smith, the Watnong Nursery has evidently been out of business now for a number of years. I have found about a half dozen online nurseries who advertise Hazel Smith but then when I try and contact them about ordering it, I come to find out that the actually don't have it anymore. So, as far as obtaining seedlings, both these cultivars would appear to be NLA. That's the bad news. But, maybe we can get some seeds from the UOI? Maybe you should try it if you're good at germinating them.

    Although off topic from Sequoias, yesterday I started some red fir seeds. (Abies magnifca). I have never tried to do anything like this before so I don't know what to expect. They are actually pretty big - slightly larger than a watermelon seed. We'll see. The thing is, I get tons of nursery catalogs in the mail but they all offer the same things - all the same half dozen or so conifers. It could well be that if you really want something different or unique, you might have to look at propagation from seeds. We'll see.

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain
     
  2. norain

    norain Member

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    so interesting .Strange how something dosent get planted due to someones lack of interest at the university . Could have been a a whole new hardy tree for Canada and north usa .
     
  3. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    norain,

    Yeah, I'm not sure whom to blame, really, the university or the nurseries. It would almost appear that the nurseries don't feel that these items would be profitable enough to go to the time and expense to produce and distribute them. As for the UOI, I don't know how well equipped they'd be to market something like this.

    The nursery involved was Buchholz & Buchholz if you want to try your luck at contacting them or, anyone else on this forum would be free to as well. Maybe if they were to get enough requests they might change their mind.

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain
     
  4. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada New Member

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    Yes I believe you are correct in your theory about growing sequoias near the great lakes region. I first started growing seedlings in pots in 1984 from seeds I purchased at Muir Woods, California. I transplanted these to the ground on a farm about 2 miles from Lake Huron. Now these trees have
    been growing for the past 35 years. They are about 20 feet tall now and doing quite well. Though they did go dormant for a year or two.
    If you need any further information let me know.
    Mike
     
    Ziggy Penner likes this.
  5. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    Mike,

    Most interesting and thanks for your input! I would like to update this thread just a bit since I have found some new information.

    As I think I said before, I planted two giant Sequoias about 12 years ago. They almost made it. One lived about six years before succumbing in a particularly hard winter. The other was badly injured from the cold but managed to live two more years for a total of 8. It looked to me like it was beginning to recover when we had another very bad winter (2013-2014). It was toast!

    I live in northeastern Indiana about 20 miles south-southwest from Sturgis, MI and about 60-75 miles from Lake Michigan so we are well outside the so-called “snow belt” and its associated moistening and moderating effects. In a hard winter we get a lot of bitter cold, drying winds.

    But, the fact that my two specimens ALMOST made it (close but no cigar) suggested to me that maybe, just maybe, if I could find some specimens that were just a little more cold hardy I might meet with success.
    Well, there ARE two strains or cultivars of Sequoia that are touted as cold hardy. One is known as “Hazel Smith” and the other as “Idaho Endurance”.
    I searched long and hard for a source for these and kept striking out. Seems like nobody has them anymore. If you try and “Google” for “Hazel Smith Giant Sequoias” you will see oodles and oodles of websites that offer them. But when you actually go to any of those websites to order them – they’re not there! Had ‘em once but no more.

    Well, I received a tip about a nursery in Oregon that might have them. I contacted them and was told they no longer do but when he saw my interest in this he said he would try to get some cuttings to graft. So, it looks like I might’ve finally, finally, FINALLY found some although I don’t have them yet. I hope to get them in April and put them in the ground. The jury is still out on this. If I get them and they live, I will post a progress update.

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    If it isn't too late and you have the option, check that they take cuttings from vigorous shoots high in the upper crown. These are much better for rooting / grafting than low shoots, which will give slow-growing bushy plants that won't establish well.
     
  7. Partelow

    Partelow New Member

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    Have been growing Sequoidendron here for 30 years. Located in the southern interior of BC. Have a grove of 3 , 40+footers. They thrive on summer irrigation water in a stony , well drained soil. Minimum winter temperature has been below -20C a number of times. Also have a “Hazel Smith”. beautiful columnar tree with a bluish cast. About 30 ft. Would concur that Sequoiadendron likes low humidities and generous summer water. Probably becomes hardier with age.
     
  8. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    Thanks for response. Actually, a -20°C reading isn't quite as cold as it sounds. That would translate into -4°F if I did my arithmetic right. That is well within the cold tolerance of Sequoias which through my own personal experience, I've seen go down to -10°F and still be O.K. It's once you get below -10°F that you start to get real damage.

    However, wind is also a big factor. I suspect they might be able to tolerate temps as low as -30 or even -40°F if there is absolutely no wind at all. Unfortunately, it is REALLY windy where I live.

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain,
    Topeka, IN
     
  9. Partelow

    Partelow New Member

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    Yes, I suppose -20 C is tolerable for S. I grew the species trees from seed and I often wonder if their provenance has affected their hardiness. Growing trees is my passion but even more passionate is successfully defying hardiness limits. In my garden I also have some nice mature specimens of Cedric Atlantica, Cedric’s deodar, Abies pinsapo, Cupressus arizonica. Failed three times with Monkey Puzzle. Would say that cold is not the reason but rather our sub-humid winters. Had a good Cunninghamia but it was an unattractive tree and I removed it. Back to Sequoiadendron, I remember that as younger trees, the foliage “bronzed” in winter cold. Not so now. I had to remove a Sequoiadendron several years ago and was astounded at the saturation of the wood. The wood eventually dried and I built boxes which are now of very light weight. The heartwood, of course, is a lovely red.
     
  10. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    Parelow,

    Sounds to me like you have a most interesting garden! I sure wish I could see it sometime but I have no idea when I might make it out there. Back in 1989 I rode the VIA train across Canada to Vancouver. I also had a day in Vancouver. It was a most wonderful and unforgettable experience. Truly God's Country !

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain
     
  11. Paul Sukhu

    Paul Sukhu New Member

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    I tried 24 month old Giant Sequoia outdoors in a pot here in Dallas. Did very well in the winter, but did not survive summer 2018 during a month of over 40 C highs.

    I also have a 24 month old Coast Redwood. It really thrived during that same heatwave while in a pot, watered several days a week by hand. It is now it the ground with electronic irrigation. I’m hoping it will survive the winter. Occasional dips below freezing is the norm, with a chance of several consecutive days at -5 C. This usually happens only several times before spring.
     
  12. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    Paul,

    I don't know if it was really the temps that killed your Sequoias or the humidity. I have seen planted Sequoias thriving in the California Central Valley in places like Porterville, etc., where temps can often reach 110°F and they seem to be O.K. as long as they're kept well watered. I once had a nice correspondence with a guy from Alabama who'd experimented with both Sequoiadendron and Sempervirons. He's the one who told me that there is a fungus that's pretty lethal to Sequoia. That fungus, which may be juniper blight or related to juniper blight, is killed by the UV radiation in sunlight. Sequoias growing above an elevation of about 3,000 feet get a high enough dose of UV light to keep the fungus away. But trees growing at lower elevations will often succumb. He told me to try spraying my trees with a systemic fungicide. I did and have had fairly decent success. However, I know that some people have convictions about using chemicals like that. I don't but can understand their point nonetheless.

    Regards,
    Fred M Cain,
    Topeka, IN
     
  13. Partelow

    Partelow New Member

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    I think there is something to be said about providence. Sequoidendron seed obtained from higher in the Sierra may be hardier. My S’ were grown from seed and from seed obtained from higher or at least from colder elevations. It may make a tiny bit of difference. I have an Atlas Cedar, again grown from seed, which is thriving in my Zone 6 garden. Seed selection is a factor if you can select it.
     
  14. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    As I understand it, S. can't take freezing of roots. Were the Idaho trees grown on a eastern slope or a western slope, or in an area like Coeur d'Alene? I wonder if the "was astounded at the saturation of the wood" reported above along with the inability to handle frozen roots are the main functions that allow them to service the very high upper reaches with sap year around, and it could allow it to grow year-around, too. I think most species have some limit of how far high-up they can draw sap which is the limit of their growing height. I think this is generally accepted, but I haven't seen a study that says that specifically.
     
  15. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    I don't know if it's root damage that killed my specimens or not. The evidence that I saw suggested that it killed the cambium layer inside the bark. It left a scar up the trunk which was exposed to the windward side of the tree and girdled the trunk about ¾ of the way around. After about a couple of years it was beginning to heal again when we got hit with an even worse winter. That completely finished it off.

    However, I did not get a forester or any kind of a tree specialist to examine the tree. Most experts are not interested anyway and would just tell me "They're not rated for this hardiness zone".

    The so-called "Idaho Endurance" trees supposedly endured several nights of -40°F temps. However, I do not know how deep the ground was frozen nor do I know if there'd been any wind or not.

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain
     
  16. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    This may or may not be germane, but I lost several JM in the back-to-back winters from Hell, ~2014-2015? We sometimes get a fake spring where the ground thaws just enough, and the sap starts running on the sunny side of the tree, and when it freezes overnight the bark splits on thin bark JM. This is almost always fatal in JM even if it takes 2 or 3 years of declining vigor to finally drop dead. I cut one tree off at the soil level, it sprouted from the root, and got the same thing in the year following. Often, we don't get down to 10°F here during winter, but those two years had weeks when it didn't get above 20°F, and there was one week it didn't get above 10°F.
     
  17. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    Sorry, Michigander, but you'll have to overlook my ignorance here. What is "J.M."?

    Regards
    Fred M Cain
     
  18. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    Sorry, Japanese Maple.
     
  19. Partelow

    Partelow New Member

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    Thanks, Michigander, for your take on split bark. My “seedling” JMs do this and though they recover the shape of the tree is lost. I believe your theory on early sprint melts followed by hard frosts explains the problem. Other cultivars of JM seem less vulnerable. Juxt doing triangulation on my Sequoiadendrons and reckon they have passed 50’ (16 m). I,ve speculated that S could be a valuable forestry tree here but we could not satisfy its requirement of 50 in (1250mm) precip. Mine get lots of summer irrigation but could not survive ( for long) on natural precipitation. Also, we have not had a winter freeze below -20C since before 1990. Our record lows easily penetrate -30.
    It would be s challenge when this happens again. And that causes me to begin specualting on climate change. I fully agree with evidence that the polar latitudes have warmed. But so did they in Roman times, again during the Viling colonization of Greenland and so did climates cool during the “little ice age” . The human life span is way to short to say with certainty that the present warming is human caused. But I prefer to believe that humans may have unleashed atmospheric changes that are causing higher global temperatures and that we have no choice but to error on the side of safety and to cut global emisions of CO2. Donald Trump and a few other uninformed world leaders are ostriches grabbing onto popularity by promising prosperity while ignoring science. Let not ignorance succeed.
     
  20. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    S. grows in a very peculiar weather zone which I'm guessing is not duplicated within range of a floating seed or bird. Oregon gets too cold and I guess any further south is too cool or dry. Topeka couldn't be more different.

    I am a True Believer in the (weak) Gaia Theory as it was first proposed back when we had global cooling, thence to global warming, and now climate change. The Earth heats up and evaporates more water to clouds which block sunlight and cools the Earth, ad infinitum. Carbon is recycled similarly. Man can, has and still does screw-up the zone of the atmosphere we breathe and the water we use, but that, too, is a self-correcting system. I'm old enough to remember what coal dust covered snow looks like and Lake Erie back in the bad ol' days. As societies enrich themselves their standards rise, too. The USA has lowered carbon emissions by approximately the same process while the other signers of the Paris Accord have floundered. Paris is burning, and is going to get worse. We're burning more gas and that will increase while somebody invents whatever is next. If you don't think someone will do that in time, just look back over the last century and find something that needed change that nobody worked on to fix. Self-enrichment is the mother of invention.

    Is the Earth heating up? Hard to say because the process is always in a state of flux and we can only look backwards at periods large enough to chart statistically. Some silly people look at a bad year and extrapolate this or that. The climate models can't predict the past which says lots. If the Earth is heating up, or cooling down, it's only the millionth time around so I'm not too worried. We're worried about sea levels because we like to live at the shore and the shore has been subsiding for billions of years. People in New Jersey and New Mexico are not living in the middle of inland seas because change occurs, with or without man's permission, or interaction.

    Should man clean up his act? Of course. Are there too many people on Earth? I don't know. The Earth will support two or three or pick some number of population multiples, but where's the sweet spot? Usually, we only recognize it in the rear view mirror. If you could do anything about it, where's the sweet spot for climate? Which is more likely: A.) Mankind will learn how to control emissions from the biggest factor in our atmosphere, volcanos, or B.) A near miss by another small planet that will change the speed and direction of the Earth's rotation, orbital path around the sun, and usher in a new geologic era. This is almost like a bar bet...
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  21. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    Well, Michigander, now you’ve done it! You’ve got me started on “global warming” and “climate change”. First of all, count me in as a skeptic. Oh, not that the planet’s warming, so much is obvious. But I am skeptical that we are headed for an absolute and utter doom.

    The planet has been warming and glaciers have been retreating – big time. John Muir discussed this in HIS writings way back in the 19th Century! This was long before we would’ve burned enough carbon to make much of a difference.

    It’s most curious to note that the Arbor Day Foundation has “adjusted” their hardiness zones northward in response to “climate change”. This now puts me clearly well into zone 6. (I am in Indiana about 20 miles south-southwest of Sturgis, MI). So, since Arbor Day rates Sequoiadendron for zone 6, my Sequoias should do just fine, thank you. *BUT* this has not been my experience. Perhaps my Sequoia specimens are “climate change deniers”. :)

    Last spring I sent for some Sequoia “Hazel Smith” strains. They are supposed to be more cold hardy and some nurseries rate them good to zone 5. This fall we had some very early cold weather and I noticed that some of the needles were turning brown at the tips on the root stock but the grafted stock looked unaffected. This is in turn giving me hope that they might just make it. I’ll keep the group posted on developments.

    On “climate change” I believe it’s just as you said. Mother Nature has a plan whereby if CO2 levels get too high, the system will adjust itself. Higher CO2 levels will lead to faster vegetative growth that will eventually turn the issue around and mitigate it or reverse it. Or, at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But here’s the real issue: World-wide deforestation on a global scale. I strongly suspect that is at the real root of the problem. Many “climate change” scientists are so focused on carbon emissions and too few “climate scientists” want to look at deforestation and urbanization.

    There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal which reported that many farmers in northern Canada are putting millions of additional acres under the plow in response to what they see as a warmer planet. Hundreds of square miles of spruce-fir forest are getting cleared to make way for agriculture. Although the article didn’t mention it, I believe they are exacerbating the problem. The destruction of our trees might just be at the root of the problem. Think about it. Forests are the planet’s natural “air conditioner”. You’d think that that would be obvious.

    I could say more – I’d just LOVE to get into the fires in California but this post is already getting way too long.

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain,
    Topeka, IN
     
  22. Partelow

    Partelow New Member

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    I wouldn’t trust that nature is self correcting in the present age of environmental crisis. The growth of the human population and its potential to completely overwealm natural processes negates the flimsy measures being taken to save us. Deforestation, species extinction, ocean pollution, are being ignored by the climate change lobby who think their problem is preeminent . The real problem is too many people and runaway consumption of the earth’s resources. I don’t see an end to this until we experience ecological collapse.
     
  23. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    Partelow,

    Well, that assessment might just be a tad bit too pessimistic. There are two things that I suspect are really driving the focus on carbon emissions. One thing is that scientists have found it an easy target to zero in on. I mean, HOW can you reforest most of the planet that has been deforested? Going carbon-free might be extremely difficult and expensive but reforesting the planet could well be even more problematic and difficult. Therefore, addressing carbon emissions might be the least of two difficult issues.

    The other thing is that I think environmentalists have an inherent animosity toward “big energy” and especially “big oil”. I once felt this way myself. So, this might just be a good way for them to “get even” or “settle a score”. Put the rats out of business. Never mind that they might not get at the real root of the problem.

    Now, I’m gonna let loose on the California fires. They are tragic and devastating. But, are they actually the direct result of “global warming” and “climate change”? The Media obviously believes so but I'm skeptical.

    I have been fascinated by the weather and have been watching it for a long, long time ever since I took a class in meteorology back around 1971. I have not seen ANY change in California’s climate. Let’s go back even further into the 1940s. Two great books to read are Storm and Fire by George R. Stewart. This can help bring into focus that California has been going through the same old cycle of extreme droughts, fires and floods. They are a part of that climate. Fire is both an important and inseparable part of that ecosystem. This has been going on for thousands of years. Forests grow, mature, burn and renew themselves again.

    But, with these recent fires being so much worse, something HAS changed. What has changed is all the over development in the Wild Urban Interface (WUI). When the forest burns, which is inevitable, really, it’s gonna take out all those houses and, unfortunately and tragically, some lives, too. If they are going to insist on building houses there, they will have to try and find a way to accommodate fire and live with it.

    You know, it really frosts me in a way. The big wealthy developers who sold people those houses in Paradise, CA, knew all too well what the risks were. But they’ve got their money now and are satisfied. Or, maybe not completely satisfied. Maybe they do have just a bit of guilt but at least they’ve got their money.

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain,
    Topeka, IN
     
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  24. Partelow

    Partelow New Member

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    Totally agree with Fred’s assessment of california’s Wildfire problem. Further, I would say that california’s Drought problem is a much a result of its burgeoning population as it is a climate phenomena. Water resources, worldwide, are not sustainable, given the rate of human consumption.
     
  25. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    Well, Topeka, you've struck a nerve! We need them Killer Trees. Even though there are more trees in the USA than when the Pilgrims landed because the Indians couldn't fight forest fires and there were few trees west of the Mississippi, immigrants plant trees wherever they go, but now the world as a whole, especially Brazil, is knocking down forests at what looks to me like a dangerous clip. Making new farmland out of forests is more difficult than most people understand. Carbon is sequestered in grasslands deep in the soil as grass lives and dies and is composted. The soil of the Great Plains is humus rich several feet deep. Properly managed by smart farmers, it will get better and better and better. Land cultivated by proper farmers for generations is much more valuable than new land. Carbon is sequestered in trees above ground in forests so the humus rich zone is only inches deep, ~remove the wood and you're left with humus-poor mineral zone with some combination of sand and clay, essentially starting from scratch. Spruces will grow on poorer land than non-conifers, a bad sign for those Canadians who should remember what occurred in the USSR when they decided to farm the Stepes, ~better grazing than farming. To convert woodland into farmland you need to cut down the trees, dig up the roots, chop up the wood and plow it all into the clay, add N, and plow it every year for 5+ years to get close to what the Great Plains have. You still won't be there, of course, because the microbe populations that consume minerals and produce mineral oxides and humus that plants need won't be sufficient for some number of years, to say nothing of the balance of trace minerals that need to be available for "good" farmland. The rain-forests of Brazil are on yellow clay. Make that poor yellow clay. They are probably short of whole bunch of trace minerals on a grand scale. You can't create the Great Plains in five years. It took the 10,000 years since the last ice shield withdrew, and probably a bunch of millennia before the last ice age. And, they are lumbering the trees in Brazil, so the land will be humus exhausted, muy pronto. You can't make a baby in month by getting nine women pregnant.

    I was tempted to suggest you graft S. on Metasequoia, but in retrospect it's a dumb idea. Dawn Redwood will take pretty dry soil. I have two: one is about 15 years old, 10" tall and in a shallow pot. It will take conditions that are the opposite of what would be necessary to provide enough fluids to keep the scion as wet as they like. Also, the more I think about the concept of the integrated (commingled?) probabilities of continuous flow of sap year-around to maintain the top during "winter" because the roots don't freeze, verses the improbability of the tree being able to refill the whole 350 foot tree each spring and the volume of roots that would necessitate. Maybe the reason these trees are that tall is that they never have to re-hydrate? The other tall trees in the world are co-incidentally along the same kind of coast and are all high pitch trees.

    Looking at photos of the Redwoods, I see deteriorated bark up to the snow-line which can mean that, with the air always being so moist, freezing air might always create snow to cover the ground and insulate the ground from freezing. If the ground isn't frozen before snowfall it will stay about 30°F at the surface under snowcover. That doesn't occur in too many places, maybe just along the California Current where those big trees are. I'm starting get uncomfortable speaking as though I have more than an acquaintance with the science involved here, I'm only a hobby gardener. But, there are a lot of things going on in the world that don't make sense, and I see "experts" screwing thing up on a pretty regular basis, so I don't feel that bad speculating...

    You don't have to be a genius to see that California has too many Californians. Aridzonia is probably in the same boat. The Colorado river was oversubscribed 60 or 70 years ago, God only knows where those people think they're going to get water. And that's only southern California and Arizona. Sooner or later someone will find a clam that's doing poorly and the jig will be up.
     

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