Thursday, July 27, 2017

Trees Are Amazing

A few weeks ago, we visited Russian Gulch State Park near Mendocino, CA.  We hiked a trail that eventually led to a 36 foot waterfall.
The falls in Russian Gulch S.P.
We love waterfalls.  And while the fall was nice, there were other things that really struck me during the walk.
Redwood growing on redwood stump
There were lots of redwood trees in the park.  This one was growing right on top of, and out of, a stump of an old deceased redwood.  This was really amazing.  The roots of the smaller tree were wrapped around the stump.  The older redwood was probably logged a century ago, so the younger one is likely about that old.
Another view - look at those roots reaching for the ground!
For scale, the stump was probably about 5 feet in diameter, the smaller tree about 1.5 to 2 feet diameter.

Redwoods have at least two methods of procreating.  While these trees grow to incredibly large sizes, their cones are small, not much larger than the coins in your pocket.  Seeds from these cones will germinate under the right conditions.

I've also seen downed redwoods with new trees growing directly from the horizontal stem.  I'm not a tree scientist, but I'm sure there's a word for this type of new tree growth.  I don't know whether or not other trees will do this.

Another seemingly mundane thing caught my interest during our hike.  A tree that had fallen across the path had been cut with a chainsaw.  Look where the moss is growing on this cross-section of tree.
Moss growing one the sapwood, but not the heartwood
The sapwood carries water and nutrients to the upper reaches of a tree.  It is alive and active.  The heartwood (as I understand it) is dead and provides structure for the tree to grow taller.  The moss is only growing on the portion of the tree (the sapwood) that was more recently alive.

I love the patterns that can be seen in nature.  Trees are amazing!


  1. Trees are indeed very amazing, it would had been difficult (if not downright impossible) to have life as we know it on earth without them....They breath in Co2 and gives off oxygen, Mother nature air filter :-)

    I did saw trees growing from down (horizontal) dead trees, among them Maples


    1. Didn't know that about maples. And they are very different from redwoods. Maybe it is more common than I thought.