And That’ll Cost You …

… Well, the price is never clearly stated, but I have borne some of the cost.

My trees.

leaf dancerIt’s hot here. And dry. It’s always hot and dry in summer in Adelaide, but this is the worst and the last rain of GT 4mm was in September.

I empty the laundry and bathwater onto the garden, particularly the trees. I like my trees. Especially the fruit trees.

A few days ago, the apricot tree died. It looked like the sun had scorched a few leaves at first, and I left the leaves on. You do that, or the tender ones underneath get scorched, too. The next day, every single leaf on the tree was scorched as if it had been inside an oven with the fan on. Dry and crunchy.

The fruit – it was loaded with fruit – was green, getting to be a good size, enticing.

The next day, the leaves dropped, the fruit dropped, and I trimmed back a good size branch. It was dead. Every check I did indicated the tree was dead.

How can an apparently healthy tree die so suddenly?

The next one was the peach tree. No, I lie, it was the cherry tree. They do tend to be a little sensitive, so it has – had – a bit more protection than the others. That protection didn’t help.

The trees that are now dead: apricot, peach, nectarine, cherry, almond.

That’s the trees out the back. The fig and the two remaining citrus trees (the orange died last year, along with the chayote) seem to be doing okay, but they’ve dropped all their fruit.

Out the front are the plums and apples and pears, and a couple of tropical fruit trees.

The plums are still doing okay, but they’ve dropped all their fruit.

The apples and pears were left for the birds to feast on, mainly because the birds seem to be so hungry they eat the green fruit – which I’ve never seen before! The other reason is that every piece of fruit on the trees is badly scorched. And they’ve stopped growing. These are the trees that get all the water from the water tank. Now empty. It’s a big tank. I don’t think the apples are going to make it …

What’s still there?

I’m just talking about the fruit trees, even though there are some issues with the other varieties.

The avocado is coming back. The mango lost all the fruit, but the leaves are still green and strong. The white sapote seems to be doing well. The cherry guava and children’s guava and yellow guava seem to be survivors, although only the yellow guava has fruit.

The plums are still going. they must be tough. The fig is doing okay, and the shade it gives to the yellow guava may be what’s saved the fruit there.

There are no wild things flowering, no borage to keep the bees happy until the autumn blooms kick in … bees?

There are no bees in the garden.

I noticed it last week. It was so hot all the birds and critters moved under the back veranda. I put a trickle on a flat sandbox for the bees (the birds have a higher watering location).

Other insects came: butterflies, wasps, even a stick insect (do they even drink?). I didn’t see a bee. There are always bees here. Always.

Not any more.

This morning, I checked my trees. On the peach and nectarine and cherry and almond is a large orange growth. It’s a fungus that grows on dead trees. These trees still have leaves.

Not for long, it seems.

That is the cost.

Food security … that is the cost, and the price is too high.







32 thoughts on “And That’ll Cost You …

  1. My god…I don’t know what to say. Here in Melbourne things have been milder. All my trees are thirsty, but I’ve managed to keep them going and fruiting. I don’t know how I’d cope if they died. So much of what I love about Warrandyte is tied up in the fruit, and in stopping this block from burning. If that all went, would I stay? I don’t know.

    People who live in cities and buy all their food from air-conditioned supermarkets have little idea where food actually comes from, and they have no idea what tree ripened fruit tastes like. To them, food security means keeping the freezer going so their ice cream doesn’t melt.

    So many of /them/ can’t get their heads around the idea that we can destroy something as big as an entire planet. So we collectively do nothing.

    Food security will mean something very different in 20 years time. 😦

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  2. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this is happening. Meanwhile we’ve got record cold temps in the US – also a marker of losing the protections that keep things temperate. I understand that the earth goes through natural cycles, but this is all too quick for that, I think. My huge rhododendron died in last year’s summer. I live in the cool mountains and they are native plants to this region. It was just too hot and dry. I don’t understand how people can deny it’s happening. Yikes!

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  3. Wow, these are the real horror stories Cage of the way our weather is changing so dramatically and so quickly.

    I have seen dramatic changes alone in UK weather in the 5-10 years that are pretty damning, and yet we have people throw at me, ‘oh stop spouting conspiracy theories!’ – l feel much of society is completely and utterly clueless to the declining state of our world.

    Global weather change is Mother Nature having had enough, she is changing because we are changing seasons.

    We are overrun with plastics, technology, urban suburbanisation, aggressive low value farming, overpopulation and if you can push that to one side, then you have governments whho say they care, but don’t, a society as said oblivious to the state of the world and looking at environmentalists as if they are three headed aliens, and then those who say openly, well it’s not my problem l am x age and it will not be in my lifetime! So why should l care?

    But as you said above in a comment to someone’s guestimate of 20 years and you came back with 5, whilst that may not be right, one does have to consider the reality of your five not being that far out.

    I am sorry for your losses, that’s just damning , seriously damning, but this is an excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even if people don’t ‘believe’ in global warming, I’m sure they could find a way to clean up after themselves – and reduce their impact on the sludge that’s taken over the oceans. Not much to ask, I’d think, but it doesn’t stop people buying more than they need or refusing to think of how their actions/lack of add to the issue of what that cost will be. I would think food security would be something people think about, but maybe not, maybe we can start farming in the deserts …

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      • You are right, but people simply don’t always think where their food comes from. I have met people in the last few years, and people of an age l thought should have literally known better as in intellectually, that the food only comes from the supermarket, l kid you not. People seemingly don’t think of problems until it hits them in the face with a hefty thud.

        In the last couple of years alone, and since the likes of DA’s Blue Planet, people were blissfully oblivious to the likes of the plastic situation. I was stunned when l had some adult tell me [they were 30 something] that DA should be ashamed of himself for only ‘just informing the planet’ now of their plight. I answered back , well not being funny but environmentalists have been informing us since the early 70’s. I myself have been alarmed at the state of the planet for the last twenty years, and they were genuinely shocked that these things had been going on for that long.

        What people don’t have to think of, people simply don’t think of. Like the fact that most of the planet doesn’t even have in some places an inch of tradtional and original top soil, and people don’t understand that, or failing to comprehend the seriousness of losing the great barrier reef, or ooh here’s one, not worry about destroying the Amazon rain forest – people simply haven’t got a clue. So food security yes is a critical point, but when you have people thinking their food ‘only comes from the supermarkets’, we are in a dire shape.

        We live in a disposable market, with manufacturers producing throw away goods, and people have no respect for anything lett alone the mere planet in which they destroy each and every day.

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  4. Wow! I’m sorry about your trees. So many years of work lost in one summer! It gets super hot here (Arizona, USA) but I haven’t heard of a summer that was as bad as what you just went through.

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