Posts Tagged ‘pine trees’

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

White Pines: Colossal in Many Ways

white pine

The eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) isn’t really a crop-bearing tree, but it has borne priceless “fruit” for American democracy. Physically as well as culturally massive, there are many accounts from the early 1800s of white pines over 200 feet tall being harvested. One credible report pegs a white pine at 247 feet, and unverified accounts have claimed that 300-foot-tall leviathans were cut back then. It’s a long-lived species, with 400 years considered a rough maximum. Working for a tree service in the Adirondacks in the early ‘90s, I once tallied 450 rings on a storm-thrown specimen.

The white pine is the official tree of Maine and Michigan, with the current U.S. champion standing at 180 feet, 10 inches in Cook Forest State Park in Pennsylvania. Sadly, one of New York State’s tallest white pines, which I visited several times, toppled in 2021. At 160 feet, 10 inches, it was in a stand of old-growth habitat near Paul Smith’s College. In today’s second- and third-growth forests, the average mature white pine is often between 100 and 130 feet tall, with diameters of 25-35 inches.

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Monday, August 8, 2022

Land of the Towering White Pines

White Pine west of Crane Mountain, Warren County

About 30 years ago I built a 16’x20’ shed to store my canoes, the riding lawnmower, my chainsaws and assorted wood scraps. There was a cute 8 foot white pine near the site that I left because it looked pretty. That “cute little white pine” has grown; it towered into the sky and its increasing diameter reached and pushed against the roof of my shed such that, as that white pine swayed in the wind, it caused my shed to creak and groan.

Clearly it had to come down (the tree, not the shed). Once on the ground it measured over 60 feet tall.

Earlier this summer my son Adam helped me take down a 90 footer which was only 50 feet from our house and leaning towards the house, with the prevailing winds pushing it from behind. Although white pine can get big, their root systems are surprisingly small and shallow, making them subject to blow down. Our April 14th storm, 14” of wet snow, took down a large white pine just across our street that tore out the power and broadband for 3 days and splintered the power pole 20 feet away into 3 pieces. Although it measured more than 70 feet high and had a chest height diameter of 28”, its root span was only 10 feet wide and 4 feet deep.

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Monday, June 28, 2021

Pitch-mass borers serve as reminder to procrastinate

In my line of work the list of boring topics is endless. There’s the emerald ash borer, lethal but oh-so aesthetically pleasing with its metallic-flake green paint job and subtle copper highlights. A handful of powder-post beetle species love to tunnel into floor joists and dead trees to mine talcum powder, leaving behind a field of microscopic holes perfect for anyone who has a sewing needle collection they need to organize. On the other end of the spectrum are fearsome Asian longhorned beetles that chew galleries in tree trunks faster than a Black & Decker cordless drill, leaving tunnels big enough to hide a Mini Cooper.

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Friday, January 8, 2021

Pine Cones: Nature’s (useful) seed bearers

As the landscape here in the Adirondacks changes from a sea of green to a frozen wonderland, coniferous trees now become the highlight of the forest flora. The cones that are produced come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the species of pine, and are prolific throughout the mountains as decorative items we see on wreaths, baskets arrangements and swags both inside and outside the homes of residents. Aside from their decorating uses, pine cones play an important role in nature. Like all plant parts, they have a very specific function in the plant world. There are approximately 6 species of pine tree in the Adirondacks that are identified by their needle like leaves, seed bearing cones and the bark.  Each cone produced has its unique size and shape and seed capacity. » Continue Reading.



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