It is Monday night and the Santa Anas are coming.
High temperatures, low humidity, strong winds… everything that avocados hate is on tap later this week. Throughout the long cool summer just ended, I have known that this day was due to come, while I secretly hoped that our good weather would continue unimpeded.
With hundreds of young trees facing their first serious stress, I find myself chewing over our preparations.
Are we ready? Much of the last few weeks has been spent staking and bracing limbs that are vulnerable to breakage because of a heavy fruit load on our 6 year old trees. Should I add some more? All the trees have been watered religiously, making sure they are strong and hydrated in anticipation of this event. I plan to irrigate again on Wednesday, just ahead of the winds. Is it time to upgrade the irrigation to accommodate the newest tree’s greater size? And if so, do I give them the next size dripper, or jump straight ahead to the micro-sprinklers? The kaolin clay I applied over the summer to protect the leaves and trunks from the harsh sun is still there, but does it need to be refreshed? In some spots it is a bit thin. In others the lush new growth is proud but unprotected. Maybe I should whitewash just the most vulnerable looking trees with more clay.
Right now, the forecast for the wind event isn’t too scary. A relatively mild Santa Ana is expected Thursday. But If I am going to make these changes, I only have so much time to do them, and the winds are notoriously unpredictable.
It occurs to me how invested I have become in these young trees. Economically of course, but also emotionally. The reasonable part of my mind tries its best to reassure the rest of me that all is fine. That a little loss is all part of the game, and that we have prepared as best we can. Tomorrow I can check the forecast again. I can make changes. We can run additional water to ease the stress. There are options.
I take a break from writing to check the forecast. Again. It hasn’t changed.
I accept, albeit with some discomfort, that we are where we need to be.
I hit “publish”, and shut down the laptop for the night, knowing that I’ll be revisiting all tonight’s choices before breakfast.