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Nov 28 2012

Botanical Wednesday: Those are cool Christmas tree decorations

(via NatGeo)

37 comments

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  1. 1
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    Whoa! I thought those were birds at first glance.

  2. 2
    Glen Davidson

    Get them off of me, get ‘em off!

    Glen Davidson

  3. 3
    xmaseveeve

    Wow, perspective shock! A ‘Hug a Branch’ tree.

  4. 4
    carlie

    Good freaking lord. TREES, Y U NEED TO BE SO BIG?

  5. 5
    Jadehawk

    Good freaking lord. TREES, Y U NEED TO BE SO BIG?

    because awesome, that’s why

  6. 6
    christophergwyn

    I wonder how large a tree can grow.

  7. 7
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ christophergwyn :

    From here :

    http://members.optusnet.com.au/mruhsam/

    When we think of the world’s tallest trees, we automatically think of the Californian Redwood (Sequoia sempivirens), and quite rightly so, because at the moment they are the tallest trees in the world. In a small hidden valley an incredible specimen at 115.5m (379 feet)has been found.
    However, less than two hundred years ago, the world’s tallest trees were most likely located in Victoria, Australia. These giant trees were the Mountain Ash, which were very common and spread in vast forests across Victoria in areas what we now know as Gippsland, the Otways, the Dandenongs, Heallesville etc.

    … (snip)… he best known and most famous example is the “Ferguson Tree” which was actually a fallen Mountain Ash downed by a recent bush fire. This was measured by a government surveyor, William Ferguson by tape measure on the 21st February 1872. The length was a staggering (if true) 133 metres (436 feet) with its crown (the tree’s top) broken off!! The stump’s DIAMETER (not circumference) five feet off the ground was 5.5m (18 feet) and at its broken top its diameter was still 1 metre. It is estimated that had this tree actually still been intact it would have approached 152m (500 feet) in height. The surveyor also noted numerous fallen trees in the same area over 106m (350feet) in height.

    Also from here :

    http://www.neatorama.com/2007/03/21/10-most-magnificent-trees-in-the-world/

    Giant Sequoias [wiki] (Sequoiadendron giganteum), which only grow in Sierra Nevada, California, are the world’s biggest trees (in terms of volume). The biggest is General Sherman [wiki] in the Sequoia National Park – one behemoth of a tree at 275 feet (83.8 m), over 52,500 cubic feet of volume (1,486 m³), and over 6000 tons in weight.

    General Sherman is approximately 2,200 years old – and each year, the tree adds enough wood to make a regular 60-foot tall tree.

    Finally, from the usual fount of all knowledge :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree#Superlative_trees

    The tallest living tree is believed to be a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) at Redwood National Park, California. It has been named Hyperion and is 115.66 metres (379.5 ft) tall.[123] The tallest known broad-leaved tree is a swamp gum (Eucalyptus regnans) growing in Tasmania with a height of 97 metres (318 ft).[124][125] The largest tree by volume is believed to be a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) known as the General Sherman Tree in the Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, California. Only the trunk is used in the calculation and the volume is estimated to be 1,487 m³ (52,508 cu ft).

    Sadly, really massive trees face a lot of problems from various diseases and pests through to Human Induced rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) and may be getting increasingly rarer with time as the Anhropocene mass extinction progresses.

  8. 8
    christophergwyn

    StevoR

    Yes…..some impressive numbers, and even more impressive visuals. I wonder how Sequoia, Redwoods, or Mountain Ash, would do in a lower gravity environment? Bigger still? That is another reason for humanity to get into space in a big way – to see how big a tree can ultimately be!

  9. 9
    Lofty

    Poor widdle twee. Being attacked by varmints is no fun. (Yeah I know, they’re researchers, not loggers, but this tree is a rare lucky one.)

  10. 10
    poose

    Okay-that’s beyond cool. Looking at this on a netbook and had to embiggen and zoom to realize what the dangly bits were!

    Two things come to mind:

    1. The realization that to get that shot the photographer had to be in the next tree over! Climbing there must be exciting!

    2. That would be a really cool tree ornament (little climbers with safety gear) not only for X-mas trees but also for your ornamentals in the back yard.

  11. 11
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @8. christophergwyn :

    I wonder how Sequoia, Redwoods, or Mountain Ash, would do in a lower gravity environment? Bigger still? That is another reason for humanity to get into space in a big way – to see how big a tree can ultimately be!

    Me too! Agreed.

  12. 12
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    I’ve never been to the sequoias in the snow. This picture makes me think it would be worth a special trip.

    Current weather forecast is still rain but it might be cold enough at higher elevations for snow. Even a dusting would be nice.

  13. 13
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Hexaploids: How do they work!?

  14. 14
    bradleybetts

    Jesus hopping christ on a pogo stick, that’s awesome! I soooo wanna see the redwoods :( but in order to do so so I have to cross the whole Atlantic and then the whole of the US. That’s a long way. I’m aware the trees are protected; can anyone climb them like that or are there restrictions? Because if there is a company that can get me up the tree like those researchers are, I’d be all over that :)

  15. 15
    ajbjasus

    I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 (for you Yanks, one of the joy’s of British culture) about a British pro tree-climber who went to see some of the worlds biggest trees – they’re all clustered in one spot – Glade of Titans I think. It was a fascinating programme, and despite being very close to some of the trees, he couldn’t actually find them !

  16. 16
    borax

    I’m wondering about the logistics of climbing a tree this size. Its not like a person can grab a limb and pull up to the next. Is it like rock or ice climbing?

  17. 17
    naturalcynic

    I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 (for you Yanks, one of the joy’s of British culture) about a British pro tree-climber who went to see some of the worlds biggest trees – they’re all clustered in one spot – Glade of Titans I think. It was a fascinating programme, and despite being very close to some of the trees, he couldn’t actually find them !

    That’s the idea. The best way to protect the tallest redwoods is to keep them isolated in a group in a riverbend far from tourists, well away from roads and major trails. If nobody knows which one is the tallest, then it won’t get so much, uh, loving attention from a certain species which need not be named. The tallest coastal redwoods weren’t even discovered until fairly recently, so plans could be made to keep it unknown. If the tree-climber was allowed to climb one of the biggest, then it shouldn’t be hard to tell exactly which one was actually the tallest simply by observation from the top compared with ground observations. To get an idea of what it is like in a redwood forest, look at the scenes on the forest moon of Endor.
    In contrast, the largest sequoias have been tourist attractions since the late 19th century and had asphalt trails leading to them.

  18. 18
    DLC

    Cool photo. how long til some twit yells ” ‘shopped!” ?

  19. 19
  20. 20
    poose

    Gvlgeologist, FCD:

    The last one is closest to what I was thinking of. I went back to look at the photo-even at high magnification I can’t see their lines!

    Someone asked it earlier-just how DO you climb a tree that big? My guess is a helocast into the canopy and rappel down, not up.

  21. 21
    carlie

    Just picked up the issue on the newsstand – there’s a multi-page foldout of the whoooole tree. :)

  22. 22
    Crissa

    Redwoods actually grow really fast, so while the giants will always be endangered, they will keep trying. There’s a 50-100 year old one in my yard, 6-8′ in diameter and more than a hundred feet tall. It’s roots reach a hundred of feet around my house, tens of feet under ground. They will keep trying, if given space to do so. These guys’ studies on these trees indicate some of the biggest trees may actually be growing the fastest in terms of mass.

    And who has a dining room that’s 27′ across? That would occlude most of my house, and any two rooms in my mother’s house (which is much, much bigger) except maybe the master bedroom.

  23. 23
    Crissa

    Oh! NatGeo and TED have talks from these guys: They developed a technology whereby they fire a guide line with a crossbow to the first branch, and pull heavier lines until they can scale to the next.

    At a certain point, you can scale it like a normal tree or mountain, I know this from personal experience. ^-^ But they probably continue to put safety lines above them across the crown.

    According to lumber sites I visit, the strength of this timber is beyond any other soft wood. I can attest to their branches being very, very strong – I’ve been trying to remove fallen ones today from a storm we had this week.

  24. 24
    strange gods before me ॐ

    There’s a 50-100 year old one in my yard, 6-8′ in diameter and more than a hundred feet tall.

    Has anyone ever died of jealousy before, or am I going to go down in medical history?

  25. 25
    Crissa

    According to these guys, the top heigh of these trees is probably 300-500′ plus an amount due to fog: The more fog or humidity, the higher trees can grow. So on terrestrial earth, thousand foot trees are not physically impossible.

    Although I can’t find a written version of that, I think he says it in here:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_preston_on_the_giant_trees.html
    Oh, phoo, he doesn’t say.
    http://dotsub.com/view/cb75711a-5783-47b4-a930-85e9ff2bd864 (transcripts on the right in a click-to-open thingy)

    But he did in NatGeo’s TV special.

    Uhh, this is sorta a topic I really love ^-^

  26. 26
    Crissa

    Has anyone ever died of jealousy before, or am I going to go down in medical history?

    Hehe.

    Living in the redwoods comes with high home prices, hard to get insurance, threat of wildfires and too much water in the winter and not enough in the summer. And as I said my house is only 30′ along its longest wall. So it’s tiny ^-^ But this is why we chose to live here.

  27. 27
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    There’s a 50-100 year old one in my yard, 6-8′ in diameter and more than a hundred feet tall.

    There’s a 50+yo Acer Palmatum in my garden that’s 6-8 inches in diameter, and no more than 10 feet tall. But I feel the same respect. ;-)

  28. 28
    Inaji

    Has no one else read The Wild Trees by Richard Preston? About the redwoods, canopy voyagers and skywalking? Good reading, although seriously envy inducing.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Jesus hopping christ on a pogo stick, that’s awesome! I soooo wanna see the redwoods :( but in order to do so so I have to cross the whole Atlantic and then the whole of the US. That’s a long way. I’m aware the trees are protected; can anyone climb them like that or are there restrictions? Because if there is a company that can get me up the tree like those researchers are, I’d be all over that :)

    I say it could be worth saving funds and getting time to make that trip.

    Yosemite would be a two-fer. You get the breathtaking beauty of El Cap and Half Dome up close and personal; so much better than even the best photos. Best time to visit is May. The waterfalls will be at their best. And then you get three major groves of giant sequoias just above Yosemite Valley. Not the single largest one – that’s in Sequoia National Park – but magnificent old specimens including one of the “tunnel” trees. Living trees were tunneled into in the 1890s for stagecoaches to pass through – to amuse the tourists back then – and nowadays you can walk through one.

    No, you can’t go climbing into the Yosemite redwoods unless you have an approved research project … The coast redwoods are different, more accessible. I know places where you can zipline into the canopy of a coast redwood forest.

  31. 31
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    Last time I was in Sequoia NP (and yes, it’s my favorite NP), I bought a Sequoia seedling – they are legal everywhere, apparently. Then, I ordered Sequoia, Coast Redwood, and Bristlecone Pine seedlings. Unfortunately, they all died, but I think that was more my lack of proper care than any defect. They really need to be cared for for about the first year.

    I tried just now to find the same company (can’t remember the name) online. Although I didn’t find the same company, there are a lot of companies now that sell the seedlings and seeds.

    I’d love to see Sequoias popping up everywhere!

  32. 32
    raven

    Then, I ordered Sequoia, Coast Redwood, and Bristlecone Pine seedlings.

    They are common and commonly available on the west coast.

    Around where I live, people plant them everywhere.

    It’s not always such a good idea. The Sequoia and coastal redwoods grow fast. If you don’t cut them down in 20 years or so, you end up with these enormous trees that are hazards, shade out huge areas of your yard, and are still just babies.

    I had a Sequoia once. The tree grew about 4 or 5 feet a year and I ended up having to cut it down.

    I do have two bristlecone pines and a young redwood now. The bristlecone is way outside its native range, about ten years old, and 5 feet tall.

  33. 33
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Yeah, people are often shortsighted. A family up the block planted three coast redwoods in their front yard, which (like all the yards around here) is no more than 20ftx60ft. When I first saw the trees, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Within two decades, the trunks will have crowded out everything else and may even be touching each other. Whoever owns the place by then will probably decide they have to sacrifice the trees to get back some breathing room just for the sidewalk and driveway’s sake. Too bad for the innocent trees.

    However, the trees are eminently suitable for larger public spaces. I’d sure be happy to see more parks using them for shady groves. Sequoiadendron, the giant sequoia, is cold-tolerant enough to be planted around the world (Scotland, Switzerland…). Since they’re rare and endangered in their native range, it’s nice to think they can be established in park refuges elsewhere.

  34. 34
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    BTW, for those who want to give it a try, the Josteen Company (sequoiatrees.com) appears to be the one-stop shop for all three: Sequoia, Sequoiadendron, and Pinus aristata. They have seed kits and potted seedling/saplings. I’ve never done business with them, but I haven’t seen any negative reviews of their produce and they are reported to have great customer service.

    Just pick your growing spot carefully! Plan for a lifetime.

  35. 35
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    @Hotshoe: Josteen is the company I bought them from. I couldn’t remember the name until you mentioned it. Thanks. And (at least in 2010 when I did it) they have a guarantee where if the seedling dies for any reason, they’ll replace it. I didn’t use it because I felt stupid for allowing them to die.

    @raven: Well, that’s the point! My dream is to plant a Sequoia in the fairway of our disc golf course, so that there will be a 200′ tall, 30′ diameter tree there in 500 or a thousand years!

    And as a woodworker, if I could harvest a sequoia in 10 years, that would be pretty cool.

  36. 36
    Crissa

    No, redwoods are great for yards. They grow fast, they can have deep roots – my yard goes up 30′ in its 100′ and would never be stabilized without them – and push away the frost line and fog by their sheer mass. Siblings or cutting can be genetically similar enough they’ll grow into each other instead of competing for space.

    Sure, you want to make sure you don’t put them within 10′ or your house, but that’s like any tree.

    Last year, I had so many seeds that one time when I was clearing the roof it was nearly completely covered with the tiny things. I had so many seedlings this year, if it hadn’t been a dry year, I’d have been drowning in the little weeds ^-^ They’re adorable seedlings, too, but need alot of water.

  37. 37
    Crissa

    Did you know there’s an albino variant? It only grows as a vampire offshoot from a healthy redwood. They’ve very sensitive to light, though, and often are sacrificed by the grove to absorb salts and other damages and be shed off. But I know were about three live within a mile of me.

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