Author Topic: Lunar Influence on Plants  (Read 8990 times)

Owen Reich

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Lunar Influence on Plants
« on: August 13, 2014, 02:42 PM »
A while back I posted something regarding cutting back a Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) based on the lunar cycle.  Some wanted me to cite examples.  Others probably didn't agree either but kept quiet.  Below are some links to research on the matter:

The first two are largely focused on animals.
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-010-0800-6_34#page-1

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/95/671/523.full.pdf

More recent posts regarding plants.
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/prune-trees-phase-moon-38792.html

http://www.almanac.com/content/farming-moon

I am not saying that everything published above and elsewhere is 100% accurate.  However, there is evidence that the moon does affect plants and animals.  In our case, repotting time, pruning time, and even fertilizer application timing could be done even more effectively. 

This is not a matter I'm an expert on, nor will ever be.  It is interesting to learn about, and I do time my big cuts on trees in late winter with a waning moon.  My trees seem to heal faster, so I keep doing it.

Here is a deciduous magnolia I've been working on.  Both cuts in the photo were made in late March.  The moon is not he only reason they've healed well, but any edge I can get I'll take  ;D.


 

coh

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2014, 03:09 PM »
Owen, that magnolia cultivar is very similar to the one I'm experimenting with (Leonard Messel, you commented on it when you were here in the spring). Have you been working with yours long enough to have any suggestions/experience to share?

Chris
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2014, 03:35 PM »
Deciduous magnolia often have large leaves.  The amount of leaves or leaf surface to leave (sorry, had to) directly affects branch thickening.  You can slow different branches down or speed them up simply through leaf thinning or cutting some leaves in half if you don't want new branches to form.  They flush new growth from pruning sites in an aggressive manner which must be controlled to avoid knobs on branches.  They tolerate wiring best when branches are young; say summer on current growth or last years is good as well. 

Rooted cuttings or air layers create thick bases quickly, but you have to make formative cuts like the ones I made on mine above early in their development or you will risk scars on the smooth bark.  You need to know the flower size before purchase to define what size bonsai it will be.  Otherwise, it should be appreciated as the flowers open.


Below is a blog post I wrote on the species.  Planning on writing an article about Magnolia bonsai for International Bonsai at some point in the future.  Bill, I'll let you know when it's ready ;D. For now, this is a start.

http://bonsaiunearthed.com/bonsai-art-japan/magnolia-kobus-styling-and-bonsai-special-delivery/

Deciduous magnolias are not hard to find and not that difficult to create bonsai out of.  The trick is starting some now.  The one in the photo came from Camellia Forest Nursery.  They have about 10 cultivars.  Again, check flower size as you can't control that variable.
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2014, 03:43 PM »


Video about the tree in the blog post Bjorn made.
 

Sorce

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2014, 08:49 PM »
Thanks for the info!


Nice healing on the Magnolia.

Sorce
 

coh

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2014, 10:28 AM »
Thanks Owen! Very helpful information.

Have you found the magnolia to flush out a second growth if you prune during the summer? So far with mine, I've only pruned early in the spring (just after flowering).

Chris
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2014, 10:36 AM »
Yes.  As I said above, they flush when pruned; basically no matter the season when in leaf. 

You've got to constantly remove strong growth to promote inner, weaker buds.  Otherwise you'll look up and all the buds will be at the tips.  You also need to consider whether the magnolia you're working with is more of a basally dominant shrub or apically dominant tree. 

This has become a magnolia thread.........  ;D
 

bwaynef

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2014, 10:48 AM »
This has become a magnolia thread.........  ;D

Redirect back to the lunar bit then.  I'm interested, but don't even know what to ask.
 

coh

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2014, 10:58 AM »
Yes.  As I said above, they flush when pruned; basically no matter the season when in leaf. 

You've got to constantly remove strong growth to promote inner, weaker buds.  Otherwise you'll look up and all the buds will be at the tips.  You also need to consider whether the magnolia you're working with is more of a basally dominant shrub or apically dominant tree. 

This has become a magnolia thread.........  ;D

Sorry about that, but I always say that once you start a thread, you really don't have control over where it goes (unless maybe you're a moderator)  :)

Actually, some of the best info I've found on forums has been in threads that start with a different topic, then veer off. Of course, that makes it almost impossible to find later. Perhaps I'll start a magnolia thread (or you can) and will move the magnolia discussion there. In the meantime, I'll read through the lunar stuff (admittedly have not yet).

Thanks again for the info,

Chris
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2014, 05:42 PM »
To get back to the matter of lunar influence, I grabbed some links off of the first few sites I found after reading some of each.  The question that Osoyoung and others asked was "are you for real".  The answer is yes.  I'd love to sit down with someone like John Kirby and see what he has to say about woody plant rhythms and cycles.  For example, it has been said that English Yew has a stronger flush every three years. 

While I studied in Japan, we timed certain defoliations, apical shoot removal, etc. to a calendar.  I don't know how much of this was based on photoperiod, lunar influence, etc. but these things do play a factor. 

The goal with the initial statement was to get people thinking about it.  If it offended you, then you at least thought about it for a little while.

I said "prove me wrong" in the initial post.  By no means am I saying to bury a horn full of manure and spread it with benevolent intent to increase yields like the biodynamic folks (you're welcome to try it).  So, now I need to prove me right.  I'll do so when I'm in the same place for more time.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2014, 10:07 PM »
I've given up on the moon, I think avampire fluttering over the apex has more of an impact.    Wink , wink .
 

Sorce

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2014, 11:59 PM »
Everything I read makes sense.

If you don't beleive in tides...... ???

As to how much it effects what?...

Its probly like anything else, more evident in some species, and particular trees.

But I think its foolish to not beleive.

However, it may also be foolish to spend a lot of time experimenting.

Though, most of us may be able to figure it out with just old pictures and calanders!
We have all the evidence, just need to put it together.

Sorce

Speaking of Vampires.....
 

John Kirby

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2014, 07:00 AM »
Owen,
Lot's of real data on impact of photoperiod and circadian rhythmicity on plant and animal physiological activities and behavior.  A group I worked with afterw I completed graduate school, Fred Turek's Lab at Northwestern, had a NASA priject to look at the effects of zero gravity on the circadian rhythm of wheel running in Golden Hamsters. They got hamsters on to NASAs Vomet Comet for prolonged flights and intervals of zero G. The net effect? Nothing, except for a group of Hamsters who liked to go joy riding. This project was targeted atlooking at the impacts if zero gravity on the circadian rhythms of humans, particularly on long space flights, such as going to the moon.

Subtle gravitational changes, may have sime impacts, however it is very difficult to sirt out from seasonal changes in photoperiod, humidity abd temperature. May be a good excuse to go to the equator.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2014, 07:04 AM by John Kirby »
 

coh

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2014, 09:48 AM »
On the one hand, it's tough to dismiss generations of "observations" (folklore) that suggest that the phases of the moon have an impact on such things as the healing of pruning wounds. On the other hand, people have a way of convincing themselves of things that aren't necessarily true.

I'd like to see some scientific data that shows some kind of measurable response in plants. The links that were posted seemed to contain just restatements of folklore (for the plants; animals are a different story). In terms of testing this in your own backyard, there are so many variables that it would be nearly impossible to isolate the effect of the moon. Nevertheless, I look forward to future postings on the subject!

Perhaps it would be interesting if someone (Owen?) started a thread where potentially beneficial periods for certain bonsai-related activities, based on the moon, were identified...so a bunch of us could do some experimenting.

Chris
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Lunar Influence on Plants
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2014, 09:54 AM »
If I had a grant, maybe.  It's more of a curiosity for me.  I'll look into it more.