Documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

FREDA - MY TREE-FOLLOWING TREE



Having been daft enough to choose a tree as high as a six-storey block of flats, with needles beyond the reach of my eye or camera; in a place where the sun never shines except from the side where I can't stand back far . . . It's inevitable that I'll pay attention more to the trunk than to anything further up.

This is no great trial. I could write post after post about the trunk alone. This bark is special; infinite in its shades of browns and greys. It offers me patterns I'd be glad to hang on my walls if I had a big enough printer!



Another unusual thing about this tree is that it allows lush growth right up to its toes.

This chickweed (Stellaria media) (seen in the last Tree-Following post)
is growing taller. It's not self-supporting. It's leaning against the trunk.
There are daisies, dandelions, docks and teasels here too.

To have an arid circle around a tree is pretty much standard. And the bigger the tree, the wider the area round it where not much grows. Trees drink a lot of water. That's part of it. Shade is another. Leaves or fallen needles can create a plant-impermeable mulch. There's not much shade beneath this tree. But it's so big, it must get through an awful lot of gallons of water in a year. Many of its branches have been lopped so it sheds fewer needles than it might. All the same . . . Maybe it's because the grass is mown every so often. It's not kept lawn-short. But it never grows more than . . . six to nine inches (?). When the mowings are taken away the needles must go with them. (Note to self - see how high the grass grows.)



Fungi will be interesting. Remember I mentioned this tree weeps resin? Here is a globule. Around it is a dull, yellowish area which I take to be resin when it's set. And growing from this are tiny toadstooly things. They have white stems and round brown tops only slightly wider. Light has been too dull to take clear pictures. By next month, maybe I'll have something to show. It will be interesting to see whether they'll grow bigger, stay the same size or drop off.


Something which interests me in connection with these weeping patches is that there is no leakage where a nail has been driven into the trunk. And what interests me about the nail is that similar trees over the road have nails in too. Why?

You don't need to have offspring to know parents like to compare their children with others. It's a way, not only of being proud but of being reassured. It's a way of checking on their overall health. If your child is growing at roughly the same rate as his or her friends, has about the same level of energy and appetite and extent of vocabulary . . . it's a way of checking your child too is healthy and well. When I saw the nail, I thought of the other trees and went to see what they can tell me about mine.

One interesting result was that I began to think 'mine' isn't as unhealthy as I'd thought - not in comparison with its neighbours it isn't.

These cones are on a tree across the road from the tree I'm following.
It's of the same variety but because fewer of its lower limbs have been lopped off
its cones are in reach (just about!) of my camera's lens.

This branch on a similar tree shows what 'our' cones must be like.



And this branch on another neighbouring tree of the same kind shows how sparse its needles are.

* * *

WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN US IN FOLLOWING A TREE?

You can read more about it on the Loose and Leafy Tree Following Page.

If you are in England, you might like also to take part in The Woodland Trust's 'Track a Tree' project.

If you'd like to know more about your kind of tree - take a look at the A-Z of trees in the left hand column of this Royal Forestry Society page.

If you are uncertain of the name for the tree you are following, Bomengids may be the site for you. (You can choose whether to browse in Dutch or English.) Neither the Royal Forestry site nor Bomengids are about trees of the world - simply of the countries they are based in. The same trees sometimes grow elsewhere too but if you are able to recommend a tree-identifying site specific to your own climate zone, let me know and I'll give a link from Loose and Leafy.

For Tree Followers in the UK and Ireland - iSpot is good in helping with IDs for trees, plants, insects, birds.
For Tree Followers elsewhere there's a Global version too.

All photos on this page were taken on 3rd April 2014

The Link Box for Tree Following Posts
will be posted on Loose and Leafy
at 7am (UK time) tomorrow.
(Monday 7th April)
And will be open to additions for 7 days.
It will be closed on Monday 14th April at
7pm UK time.
(Or as soon after that as I happen to be near my laptop!)

I'm Following a Tree

Are You?



To Jump to the April link box for Tree Following Posts - CLICK HERE

17 comments:

Joanne said...

The bark is so interesting to view. It looks so old & craggy.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Joanne. It's wonderful bark. As for its age - I haven't a clue. It looks as if it should be old - but I don't know.

Dartford Warbler said...

Maybe you could try doing some bark rubbings on that beautiful bark? The textures look wonderful.

Mark Willis said...

I think you made a good choice - a tree with lots of interest!

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Dartford Warbler. Ordinary bark rubbings wouldn't work because the fissures are so deep. It would be good if one could make some kind of cast - except bits would flake and break away. If any of these trees are felled when I am around I think I'll leap in and ask for some of the bark from the bits. It's a matter of being there at the right moment!

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Thanks Mark. I chose it because it would be a challenge. I think I will miss being able to see new growth. It will be too high up. The nearby trees will help me know what's going on though, even though the focus is on this one. I'm hoping there will be fungus at its feet in the autumn. I was hoping for spiders when I took these pictures but there were none, possibly because they were hiding from the rain.

flightplot said...

A most interesting, and informative, post. Flighty xx

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Thanks Flighty. Looking forward to reading about your willow.

chloris said...

A beautiful tree with fantastic bark. Thank you for hosting the tree following meme. I think it's a wonderful idea. I did start joining in with it last month but you haven't got me on your list. I probably didn't do the link properly. I hope I managed it this time http://thebloominggarden.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/the-mulberry-tree/

Countryside Tales said...

Beautiful bark Lucy. Looking forward to seeing more. I think it's such a great idea to have a tree following- well done you x

HELENE said...

The bark loos so tactile, I just want to reach out and stroke it :-)
About the screw in your tree – maybe someone has used the trees in the past to hang up posters and wanted to be sure the posters would hang for a while. Are the screws the right height for posters?

allotmentinmygarden said...

What a fantastic tree, wonder how old it is?
Cathy

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

That bark is fantastic! I would like to make it into clothes or a blanket to wrap right round me.

Down by the sea said...

I love these pictures of the bark . You have found nails in trees before I wonder what there were there for. Sarah x

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

I agree about the bark Lucy, it is beautiful, and the addition of resin and fungi provides lots to fascinate, even if the needles and cones are so out of reach. I have hazy memories of hearing about why people put nails in the trunks of trees, so hazy I only remember thinking it was weird and ineffective...

Anna said...

Freda's bark is most intriguing Lucy. I think that I would like to wrap myself in it and dream sweet gentle dreams. I can see why you would like it to decorate your walls. I'm unable to comprehend why people ever put nails in trees :(

squirrelbasket said...

Love the resin! Literally liquid amber!
I see online in the Guardian Notes & Queries they talk about people (superstitiously) hammering copper nails into trees to kill them. Although it doesn't work.
Hanging up a poster or a washing line sounds a much more likely explanation...