Week 15 (13th March – 19th March)

Sunday 13th March: The trees seemed pretty good this morning with no more yellowing in the new growth. The 1 degree increase in temperature combined with a longer duration of the heat cycle seems to be good for the trees. I decided to stick with this new set up for at least a couple of day.

No sign of any germination yet but that is to be expected as germination generally takes between 7 and 14 days. With luck I should see the amazing sight of new shoots pushing aside the earth on Friday or Saturday of this week.

I spent of the rest of the day looking at the relics and absences of these ‘miracles’. I have pressed and studied a few of the trees that died during this project. Each tree has notes about its reasons for its possible demise. I am particularly interested in the marks left on the blotting paper when a tree is pressed. Such residues have the appearance similar to that of the stain left on a wall when a picture is removed. The marks describe a history and, for me, are examples of the ontology of loss. I am not yet sure how these ‘relics of miracles’ will construct themselves as works.

Tuesday 15th March: I couldn’t visit the trees yesterday so was keen to see them this morning. The looked probably the healthiest they have for a few weeks. There is little sign of any further yellowing on the new growth and all the new leaves seemed relaxed. It is almost a week now since the root washing intervention and that, combined with increasing both temperature and its duration, seems to have helped these amazingly resilient trees. I checked the soil for moisture and made a decision not to water the trees at this moment. In order to help the new growth become stronger I increased the light times to 5 am – 9 pm. This is an increase of 1 hour and should be good for the trees. Meanwhile the top soil temperature remains at 29 degrees Celsius (84.2 degrees Fahrenheit) with a duration of 19 hours. I noticed the humidity was at 36% which is a little low. I realised that this was because one of the vents had been fully opened. I don’t see this as problem but will continue to monitor light, temperature and humidity.

Wednesday 16th March: The trees seemed well again this morning although the environment was a little cold because a couple of the vents had been left open over night. The new growth is still strong. I carefully checked the soil for moisture levels. It is now 8 days since the trees were watered. Whilst the lop levels of the soil were pretty dry the lower levels of the soil had high moisture levels. I am wary of over watering and so decided to check again tomorrow. I checked the propagators for any signs of germination. I found no signs of soil disruption as the trees push into the light. I gave each pot a misting of water because it is keeps the top surface soil easier to push aside as the tree emerges. The extra hour of light seems to have been helpful in building the strength of the trees but I will keep monitoring the light hours.

The humidity was 36% which I think is because of the vents being opened. I will check again tomorrow.

 

Thursday 17th March: I fully expected to water the trees this morning but they looked really well and I decided to leave well alone. It is 9 days since they were re-potted and had their roots washed but experience and research tells me that it is best to look for signs of lack of water from the trees. There are no signs of the leaves drooping, going brown at the edges or yellowing that indicates lack of moisture. I will check again tomorrow. I have lightly watered the trees here at home which were re-potted a day before the trees in the study, and so can see how this may affect the trees.

I have seen a pin prick of green in the centre of one of the germinating pots of soil. I hope the tree will emerge by tomorrow morning. This is exciting as it will be a tree that is born so to speak in the place of the installation. I hope I can then share with visitors to the project the early days of these remarkable trees and complete the installation ‘starting again’ so to speak.

I did not change the temperature or light hours. The humidity has increased to 43%.

 

Friday 18th March: The trees looked well this morning. I checked the moisture levels in the soil and found the soil to be pretty dry with the exception of the very bottom of the pot. This is not surprising as the trees had not had any water since they had a soil change some 10 days ago. Whilst I was sure the trees would keep going over the weekend I decided to give each of them a small capillary watering. This is because I know I will be away on several days next week and want to feed them now rather than risk problems happening whilst I am absent. As the installation finishes a week on Sunday then this may be the last watering of the trees whilst they are in the project environment.

The other news from the project is that 3 Moringa Oleifera trees have germinated in the study space. These trees have been born in the light of a gallery and within the space of the project. I have left them in the propagator to gain some strength before moving them to a space where visitors to the project can see them. They will need watering every 3 days during these first weeks. When I left the humidity of the environment had moved from 38% to 44%. This is fine and is accounted for by the introduction of water into the system.

 

Saturday 19th March: The tree looked pretty well after the capillary watering yesterday. There is one leaf on one of the trees that looks like a scorched leaf brought on by lack of water and I am concerned about this. So I plan to get to the study when it opens at 11 am and re-check the moisture levels in the soil of all the trees. This may seem over the top but after all this concentrated labour to try and better understand the growth of these trees it would be very sad if the last week of the project saw them getting ill again. I am pretty sure that I will need to top water the trees. Further to this I am conscious that several of the trees have places to go to that can provide a really fine environment for them and I do not want to deliver trees that are not well.

Overnight several more trees germinated. I removed them from the propagator and watered them. I will check them on Sunday. The humidity has risen slightly to 46% which is indicative of the water added to the system on Friday.

This has been a good week for the trees and I am now pretty optimistic that the trees will continue to grow over the final week of the installation.

There has been some growth this week.

All trees have grown approximately 4 cm (1.6 inches) this week.

The tallest tree, now in my home, has grown to 57 cm (22.4 inches).

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