by stefani greenwood

When I look at a tree I always wonder about the stories it holds – the good times, the bad times, the secrets and the kisses shared under it’s branches.  How do you find out more about a tree? Maybe the secrets will remain untold, but we can find out parts of the story of a tree.  One of the ways is to look at its annual growth rings.  If a tree is already dead, it is easier because you can use fallen timber core samples. But if you have a living tree, it is possible to use an increment borer that will drill out a core sample.

The image above was taken at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens and included this statement: Every growth season a tree adds a new layer of wood to it’s trunk. Each ring has two parts: a wide, light part called “early wood” and a narrow, dark part called “late wood”.  The early wood grows during the wet spring season.  During the transition from the drier summer to fall and winder, growth slows and the late wood forms.  The rings provide clues about the climate, or weather of an area over time and evidence of distrubances to and around the tree, such as fires and floods.

Check out Radiolab’s Be Careful What you Plan For to hear stories about the death of the world’s oldest tree and what that might or might not mean.  LINK