Archive for December, 2009

Is ancient redwood tissue and antique glass technically a liquid?

Copyright 2009 ~ Mario Vaden

Huge coast redwood tree at Jedediah Smith redwoods

A large and very old redwood tree with unusually shaped growth next to the trunk.

Ever had any friends in the window cleaning business who told you that glass is really a liquid, and slowly flows over decades or centuries. Even historic buildings like churches have thicker panes at the bottom. So is this true? I’ll get back to that.

The tree in the photo is a very old coast redwood near the Grove of Titans. Can you see growth alongside the left side of the trunk? It does have a sprouted stem on top of it, and its not apparent if some part of it was a dangling branch at one point in time. But its laying to tight against the main trunk to be just a branch. In some ways it looks like a growth sometimes referred to as a lignotuber, more so than a burl.

In Jedediah Smith Redwoods, and other redwood parks, the redwood trees occassionally make this kind of growth, which almost seems like flowing tissue, as if it were wooden lava. Flowing so slowly that its undetectable to the human eye. Similar to how icicles form over weeks or months,

Whatever you want to call this, and however long it takes, it does not flow, and there is nothing liquid about the state of the wood tissue. It’s all a matter of cell division and growth, but sort of unusual compared to many we see along the trail.

Likewise, glass is not a liquid, but is solid. Glass is generally classed as an amorphous solid rather than a liquid, having all mechanical properties of a solid.

In historic buildings, the antique glass which is centuries old, was made by glass blowers who spun glass, causing the edges to be slightly thicker. It did not flow thicker at the bottom of the panes over time, it was made that way. The thicker edges were intentionally put at the bottom of the frame to reduce water or condensation accumulation around the lead. And a few pieces have been found where the thicker edge is up, and the thinner edge down: likely an oversight or carelessness back in that day.

In the redwoods, if you have not seen this kind of unusual growth before, slow down a bit when you hike and look at a few more redwoods. Glance deeper into the forest and see what you can find.

Coast Redwoods

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park: Boy Scout Tree Trail

Boy Scout Tree Trail in the redwood forest

Boy Scout Tree Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

This scene is from Boy Scout Tree Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. If you want to hike there, and have not been to the area before, search for the redwood park information center in Crescent City, California.

This is one of the best trails in the north redwood parks between Avenue of the Giants and the Smith River. Jedediah Smith redwoods is between Hiouchi on Highway 199 and Crescent City on Highway 101. To reach the trailhead, you need to use the old Howland Hill Road through the midst of the park.

There is a small waterfall near the end of the trail, called Fern Falls. The Boyscout Tree, after which the trail is named, is about 80% of the way to the end. Its not marked. But at some point in the hike, you should notice a worn path going up a hillside to the right. That’s the path to take. The tree is only a couple of hundred feet or so off the main trail.

One of my favorite areas along the trail, is a huge fern glade, part of which is in the photograph seen here. A wide open vista of western sword ferns, and redwood tree trunks.

For specifics, visit this site and find Jedediah Smith redwoods:

Identifying Mature Old Forests and Trees

Robert Van Pelt, book, books, forest, trees, Washington

Two books written by Robert Van Pelt

Here are two books I’ve been reading recently, written by Robert Van Pelt, a west coast researcher of trees and forests. Van Pelt also wrote Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast.

The two books are:

Identifying Mature and Old Forests in Western Washington

And …

Identifying Old Trees and Forests in Eastern Washington

These may not be available for sale. But if you are into heavy-hitting tree information, and can put the information to practical use, maybe contact the Washington State Department of Natural Resources for a lead.

Robert Van Pelt provides in depth information about the forests of Washington. The back cover describes Van Pelt as a research ecologist at the University of Washington, where he received both his Ms and PhD. He is currently involved with canopy research of the the world’s tallest trees: Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, coast redwood and giant sequoia around the west coast states, and mountain ash down under in Australia.

These booklets, like the forest giant book he wrote, become facinating the deeper I get into them. These two are almost like a Dicotomous Key & Forest ID book rolled into one. This is such an experienced approach to identifying forest types, that I’m going to have to read through these twice, maybe three times. It’s not hard to understand. But there is a lot of information.

A review of his Forest Giant book is included here:

Book Review: The Wild Trees & Forest Giants

Jurassic Tree ~ Oswald West State Park

Oswald West State Park, Oregon, Sitka Spruce

A Sitka Spruce tree at Oswald West State Park in Oregon. 2008

Oswald West State Park is in north Oregon, along the coast highway 101.

This particular tree in that park reminds me of a big dinosaur: the trunk shaped like a neck, and the roots like legs. The tree is a Sitka Spruce, and most likely germinated on top of a stump or log which is mostly decayed by now. I call this spruce Jurassic Tree.

There are plenty of Sitka Spruce in the park, as well as other evergreens like Western Hemlock.

There is plenty of parking. The lots fill up in summer, but in Autumn, Winter and Spring, there are plenty of spaces open, if not most of them. Trails lead east and west from the parking area. The beach is accessible using the trail too.

Located between Manzanita and Cannon Beach.

Oswald West State Park

Pruning should begin the day of planting

pine, pruning, trunk

This damaged pine trunk is related to lack of proper pruning

The pine in this photo had two main stems. A larger one, and a second smaller stem.

After snowfall in Beaverton, Oregon, during the Winter of 2004, the weight of snow bent the small stem sideways, splitting the union. The damage to this tree has no remedy, and the pine had to be removed. That’s about 15 years of growth gone to waste.

Some folks would say that the snow caused the problem. But the problem was lack of pruning. The small stem should have been sawed off the day the tree was planted, when it was no thicker than your thumb.

Corrective pruning should begin at planting or in the first few years, to reduce the risk of this kind of loss. It’s better to loose a small amount of foliage from a young tree, than a lot of foliage from a larger tree. Removal of the small stem at planting time may have removed one quarter of the tree, but that is a better option than what we see in this image, and the potential expense of removal.

M. D. Vaden ~ Arborist

First visit to redwoods at age 89

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Eleanor Vaden in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park: Image Copyright - Mario Vaden 2008

This is my mother Eleanor Vaden, during her first visit to the coast redwoods, in 2008. Driving back home, she said it was the most peaceful place she has ever been in her life.

My mother grew up in Canada, and lived about half her life there, and half here in Oregon. In all those years, she had never been to the redwoods. So before we moved back up to Beaverton, Oregon, from the Jacksonville and Medford area, she tagged along with me for a ride to the north redwoods.

We spent most of the time at Simpson Reed Discovery Trail and Stout Grove. Both trails are pretty smooth and not too long. Perfect for senior citizens. Or handicapped folks, should you know any who are looking for a good place to view redwood forest. The day ended with a drive aloing Howland Hill Road which stretches through the midst of the park.

An abundant life is not dependent upon seeing this magnificent forest. But if you want to see these redwoods, its got to happen while you live and breath. And its a fine way to enjoy the Creator’s handiwork.

In the photo, mother is next to a fallen redwood that is supporting a garden of plants nearly 20 feet high. The tree was enormous when it grew. You need to see it in person to realize the size.

M. D. Vaden Coast Redwood Page

Autumn color is not just leaves

Orange Earth Tongue

Orange Earth Tongue

Autumn color in the forest is not limited to colorful leaves of trees, like dogwood, vine maple or dogwood.

If we take the time to look down, and slow down a bit, there is much color to be seen in the fungi and mushroom that sprout during autumn and early winter. Mushroom grow during other months, but the peak season seems to be when the rains come and the cool season arrives following summer.

This fungi should be called Orange Earth Tongue, best I know. This photo was taken in the Oregon coast range somewhere between Elsie and Seaside.

It’s only been recently that I started to learn a few names and recognize some of the west coast mushrooms. In the meantime, I keep an eye out for different kinds and take a few photos.

N. D. Vaden Mushroom Photo Album

That link includes various mushrooms spotted near Oregon