Landscape & Irrigation

January/February 2016

Landscape and Irrigation is read by decision makers throughout the landscape and irrigation markets — including contractors, landscape architects, professional grounds managers, and irrigation and water mgmt companies and reaches the entire spetrum.

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26 January/February 2016 Landscape and Irrigation BY BRANDON M. GALLAGHER WATSON In the upper regions of Siberia, nearly 450 miles above the Artic Circle, resides one of the world's toughest tree species. Larix gmelinii, known as the Dahurian larch, holds the distinct title of "World's Northernmost Tree Species." Living in this area, just above the permafrost layer, is not for the faint of sap. Air temperatures have been recorded at an astonishing negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit (-70°C) during the winter, and summer temps climb above the freezing point for just a few short weeks. The growing season is less than 100 days long each year with polar night lasting from September to February. This species has adapted to low seed germination rates with the ability to sprout new trees off its root system, forming forest colonies of "creeping larch." This growth habit is common among hardwoods, such as aspen, but uncommon amongst temperate conifers. Their tough wood and extreme cold keep insect and fungal pests to a minimum and, of the 268 other organisms that live on this tundra, there are no other tree species competing for sunlight. They can survive here for a long time. One individual was found to be 919 years old, while the root system may be as old as several millennia. Despite these inhospitable conditions, the Dahurian larch thrives here. The Dahurian larch endures the local climate with great success thanks to a fairly complex series of adaptations we generally refer to "cold hardiness." Hardiness is a measure of how well a plant can withstand adverse conditions, "Hardiness is a measure of how well a plant can withstand adverse conditions, and can include cold, heat, elevation, drought, flooding and even wind." ALL PHOTOS PROVIDED BY RAINBOW TREECARE SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENTS Just Chill: How Cold Hardiness Works TREE CARE

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