Increasing Summer Stress on Deciduous Trees Using a Highly Efficient Irrigation System
The nursery is situated at Monbulk in the Dandenong Ranges, 50 km east of Melbourne. The average rainfall is 1200 mm at an altitude of 300 m above sea level. The majority of rain falls between May and October, with October being the wettest month on average followed by May.
The summer period of December to February is the warmest period, but over the last 10 years, the warmer months have been earlier and extending later into autumn. The 2006–7 year saw very warm conditions from early October in late May 2007. The 2007–8 season had very warm temperatures in October to early December, then wet in the middle of December and extreme heat in late December 2007 to middle January 2008. We experienced many days in a row of 35 °C plus, with very low humidity. In the past we would have had 2 days in a row and then a cool change. The warmest part of the day has changed from 2:30 to 4:00 PM to between 4:00 and 5:30 PM. If we are experiencing climate change, I don’t think we can truly know for many years to come. The extended warmer periods, with very little cooler periods in between, are changing how we look at growing advanced trees.
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