Thigmomorphogenesis

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by Margot, Feb 10, 2021.

  1. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor

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    Thigmomorphogenesis

    Here’s a new word for me that I just came across in Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott’s ‘Hort Myths’ (https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/thigmomorphogenesis.pdf) which I found interesting inasfar as it relates to an ongoing discussion on this forum - the questionable choice to stake newly-planted trees.

    “For installers and managers of landscape trees, thigmomorphogenesis is especially important to
    understand. While trees in the middle of a forest do not experience buffeting from wind, urban trees are
    more likely to be isolated and exposed. Allowing these isolated trees to sway in the wind will increase
    their trunk girth and taper while keeping crown growth in check. Wind stress also increases root growth
    and stability, especially in shallow or compacted soils (common in urban areas). The result is a more
    firmly anchored tree with a reduced crown-to-root ratio. In contrast, trees that are staked too tightly or for too long cannot sway in the breeze and therefore do not develop the girth, taper or root stability necessary to surviving future wind stress. They are, however, taller and thinner with greater crown development.
    Such trees are more likely to experience crown breakage or uprooting once the staking is removed." LC-S
     
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    It may be necessary to temper the recommendation to not stake according to local conditions. I've noted many trees in urban Japan are staked, likely to provide support against winds from monsoons typhoons that are endemic to that region.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
  3. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor

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    What about trees growing wild in Japan? Surely they have not been staked either historically or currently. Just because "many trees in urban Japan are staked" does not prove that it is necessary does it?
     
  4. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    Kinda, yeah. :) The coastal Asian cities all seem to have much, much beefier tree staking, and it's everywhere. Like it's an art form that is a prominent part of the urban landscape in these cities. Considering the difference in climate, and the difference in money they spend on staking, it's not hard to see they learned from picking these off the ground after typhoons.
    Also, trees growing wild are different because they were allowed to develop full natural roots systems from seed, not being planted out as a full tree from a relatively tiny pot. They also have the density of their forest grove to protect them, and no one to care if they flop over on the edge of the forest.

    I find Chalker-Scott a bit annoying in these type of articles where she is so vague in hedging her bets that she's not actually making any real claims. For instance, most people like Junglekeeper did above, got the feeling she is against staking, but she didn't actually say that. There's no real position taken, so you can't ever say she's wrong. You just "need to be aware" of these things. Make sure you're not doing it improperly, whatever that is (duh).
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021

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