Weather conditions this spring allowed us to prepare the start of the season earlier than planned. Budding and leaf production started in late April and continued through the season. Leachate application started mid-May, as planned, with 10 gallons per day, as well as 3 gallons of fresh water per tree. The pond level started to drop early in June. The trees benefited from an unusually dry June, and we saw accelerated growth during the hot portion of June, to an average of 8 inches per week. Leachate alkalinity climbed to 9.1 in June as well, and conductivity rose to 4.4. The hot weather contributed to algae bloom in the pond which plugged the filtration system as predicted. Total growth, per tree, has been on average 30 inches so far this year. Tree height average, at the end of June, is 11.4 feet.
- 200,000 gallons of leachate treated
- trees reaching 19′ height
- leaves up to 14″ x 16″
In July, the pond level continued to drop. Dry weather conditions allowed an increase of leachate application with continued dilution of 3 gallons per tree of fresh water. Conductivity rose to 4.8; alkalinity dropped to 8.4 on average. Growth rate, per tree, increased an average of 10 inches vertically per week. Study trees reached an average height of 14 feet in July. Tree circumference increased by as much as 2 cm per week. Filters are being checked and cleaned daily because the algae bloom persists during the hot dry days, and scaling has appeared in the delivery system. 100% survival rate has been maintained for all trees, with certain varieties performing above expectations.
Final leachate application was on August 15th, bringing the total usage of leachate solution remediated by the trees to 200,000 gallons, and less than 60,000 gallons of water used for dilution. We continued irrigating with fresh water until the end of the August to allow the trees to prepare for over-winter hibernation. Conductivity was at an average of 5.2, and alkalinity was 7.8. Average overall height of study trees was 17.15 feet. Trunk circumference averaged 209 mm. That represents a 2.5 cm circumference growth in the past 4 weeks. Soil sampling was done in August, as was the culture testing of some leaves and branches to discover residual content.
Tree growth stopped mid-September. Our study trees reached an average of 19 feet, with the largest leaf measuring 13.75 inches by 16 inches. Large leaf formation indicates the trees carbon fixing performance. At the end of September, the trees look very healthy. Final soil preparation was done this month and preliminary pruning on all rows in preparation for winter.
Weeds are an ongoing problem, with patches of Morning Glory being persistent. Nutrient values in the soil were very low and were therefore supplemented with Urea in the spring. Daily filter cleaning purged the filter system of persistent scaling and algae bloom in the leachate solution. We have determined that these hybrid trees do have the ability to uptake saline solutions as high as 5.2 conductivity and still thrive.