One of the things we Garden Professors can do is give tests! And the nice thing is you don’t get penalized for being wrong. So this will be my inaugural Plant Puzzler.
Below is a photo of a tree with epicormic shoots on its two lower branches. Epicormic shoots are vigorous, upright branches that have more of a juvenile than mature appearance. They often appear when a plant has been stressed, perhaps by overpruning, or maybe the roots were damaged by construction:
So here is your test question. Why are these epicormic shoots primarily (if not exclusively) on the two lower branches, and not elsewhere in the crown? (You can’t see the top of the tree, but I promise there are no epicormic shoots up there.) And what evidence would confirm your diagnosis? While there is only one correct answer for this particular tree, let’s see how many possibilities you can come up with.
Answers and more pictures next week!