Re: addendum

From: Don Winterstein (
Date: Wed May 21 2003 - 03:50:08 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Roberts: "Re: Out of the sea (was The Tower of Babel...)"

    Peter wrote:

    "Interesting point about olive trees. Sure they are hardy trees but…

    my point would be that if the world was totally covered in water such that the highest mountains were covered

    then wouldn’t the “olive trees” be out of sunlight for more than a year?

    That would make them more than hardy trees wouldn’t you think?"

    To which Paul responded:

    "Well, I do not claim to be an authority on this, but a couple of years ago I took a chain saw and cut down a camellia bush with a 9 inch diameter trunk. Nothing left but the stump. That seems as likely to me to kill a tree as not having sunlight for a year. But, up came the shoots and now I have a 3 foot camellia bush again. It seems that you have to kill the roots not just the tree, but I defer to a botanist if there be one in the audience."

    I'm not a botanist but an avid fruit gardener. Roots of trees that normally live on dry land require oxygen in soil air to survive. If they are immersed in water, most die quickly, although somewhat less quickly if the water is well oxygenated. Tolerance is variety dependent. Roots of trees such as mangroves that live in water have special structures to provide root aeration. As David Campbell implied, olive trees are unlikely to survive long when submerged. Because olive trees are rarely if ever grown commercially in areas subject to flooding, it's likely that no one knows exactly how much submersion they can tolerate.

    Cutting off low on the trunk will not kill most trees. In my experience junipers and palm trees have been the only exceptions. Even papayas have sprouted again. A current method of rejuvenating avocado groves, in fact, is to truncate the old trees at about three feet and graft on new varieties.


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