102 years old

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MtnDon
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102 years old

A few weeks ago a wind gust caught a seemingly healthy 78 foot tall ponderosa pine near our mountain home. It blew over. I cut a slab off and brought in inside the shop where I sanded one side smooth-ish. I count 102 growth rings. It was about 16 inch (40 cm diameter where the slab was cut from, about two feet above the ground level.

The growth in the last 20 years was noticeably less than the earlier decades.

Edited by: MtnDon on 07/12/2021 - 17:46
zoulas
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Great picture. Unfortunately too many trees dying.

MtnDon
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Yeah, but this one is extra sad because it was healthy. There are a few beetle-killed trees I have been thinking of felling but I was in no rush as the beetles have moved on. The forest we are in has been in a high to extreme drought for most of the past 20 years. A large area near us (150,000+ acres) burned 10 years ago. It was mainly conifers and mostly ponderosa pine and firs. Much, if not all, of that area, will never grow back to the type of forest it was. All mainly due to the severity of the burn and the low precipitation.

MoreLumens
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Slow growth because dryer/hotter weather or maybe other trees around that casts shadow?

Good material to build something really beautiful again.

EDIT: Looks above after posting, yes that explains.

zoulas
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What do you mean severity of the burn? Do you mean the sun? I thought trees do better in full sun.

zoulas
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BTW, I hate beatles ( not the Beatles.)

I try and douse then with a permethrin mix. Especially on rose bushes.

chadvone
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I keep coming up with 98

goshdogit
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Sorry to hear about your neighbor.

I hope you can salvage some of the lumber for your future projects.

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Great picture, thanks for sharing. ✅

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I hate to see old trees come down. Around here the Ash trees are dying from the Emerald Ash Borer. Widow makers are dropping everywhere. Makes it very dangerous to walk around the property. Never in windy conditions anymore.

MtnDon
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zoulas wrote:
What do you mean severity of the burn? …………

Referring to the wildfire. The fuel was so dry that virtually everything burned to ash in some areas. We drove though some of the old forestry roads about a week to 10 days after the fire had moved on. There were some charred trees trunks still standing. The ground was covered in grey ash. After a more “normal” wildfire you can see pine and fir seedlings in a year or two.
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chadvone wrote:
I keep coming up with 98

Could be. A few rings were very thin. I followed them around 90 to 180 degrees and some had wider spots. So I counted that as a year. It was still older than me by roughly a quarter century, no matter. Wink

jon_slider
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So, when that tree was born, around 1921, there was a much wetter climate.

and about 20 years ago, the drought started causing narrower growth rings.

then a huge fire took out many of the surrounding trees, and now, after the ground is wet from rain, strong winds follow the storm and blow trees over, that are standing alone.

They fall because they are no longer surrounded by other trees, that would have deflected the wind, and helped support each other to stay standing.

I have been seeing a LOT of trees blown over on my drive from Santa Fe to Jemez Springs.

Big healthy root balls of dirt sitting sideways on the ground. These are at the edge of the Cerro Grande fire that burned around Valle Grande and Los Alamos 20 years ago.

There is a forest of dead trees standing, they dont blow over.. Its the live ones at the edge of the burn, that get blown over. The undergrowth has barely recovered to be as tall as a man yet.. after 20 years, all of which has been the drought, shown on the beautiful tree slice MtnDon has posted.

I love your photos of nature and wood, thanks for sharing.

MtnDon
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Quote:
I have been seeing a LOT of trees blown over on my drive from Santa Fe to Jemez Springs.

Along Hwy 4, east of Los Alamos, there was a big wind event a few years ago. Dozens of trees were blown down, some dead burnt from the Cerro Grands or Los Concha fires, some living with many falling across the highway. We were one of a number of people who were temporarily stranded on the highway between downed trees. Fortunately nobody had a tree fall on them. Our truck always has a chain saw in the back. But at the time, not the Tesla, which we were driving. . Now we have a cordless EGO chain saw in the Tesla too. Gas Stihl saw in the gas fueled truck, electric saw in the Tesla. Fitting, I think. The state DOT arrived soon enough to clear the road.

jon_slider
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MtnDon wrote:
We were one of a number of people who were temporarily stranded on the highway between downed trees. Fortunately nobody had a tree fall on them.

wow, intense

I started carrying an electric chainsaw in my subaru last winter, so I could load firewood from downed trees along the side of the road. I got permission from the park ranger, he thanked me for asking first, then commented I would actually be helping..

later I learned Im not allowed to do that in most places
I still like having a saw with me..

MtnDon
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Quote:
later I learned Im not allowed to do that in most places

The forest service does have its rules about fuelwood collecting. I do think the rules are sometimes nuts. But then this past weekend I saw a fuelwood collector who had cut a standing dead tree I know the FS had intentionally left standing in an area that was not designated for fuelwood collection. Sure it was only one tree out of how many? So what harm? Not much, until it is added to the other trees another person cut in the same area the weekend before.

But if a tree falls alongside a road I see no harm in picking that up. The official rule permits one to cut and clear away enough of the fallen tree to provide safe passage, but does not address what can be done with the pieces cut. I think the collection of dead fallen trees should be encouraged in most national forest areas. But then there are also people who will cut live trees and hat is almost always wrong.

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That’s some fun photos and what great boards could be sawn from the outer edges with all those tight rings.

One of my favorite memories of visiting NM (Los Alamos) was the availability of green chiles everywhere— on burgers, on fries, with breakfast, every place that served food had green chiles, and they were hot too.

Now i get a craving for some green chiles and go to the stores here in the southeast and they sell little tins of diced mild green chiles, which have absolutely no heat at all. What’s the deal—are you guys holding back all the hot ones…

Seems like it would be fair reward for a person to take the wood if he cut an opening thru a downed tree to clear the road. Doing everyone a favor and spending your time and energy; otherwise the road is blocked until the ranger shows up to do it.

Now i used to think that i was cool,
drivin' around on fossil fuel,
until i saw what i was doin',
was drivin' down the road to ruin. --JT

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Is that an average growth rate of the ponderosa pine? Most 16 inch trees around here would not be nearly as old. Cordless EGO chainsaw is my absolute favorite tool ever.

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Great pics. Thanks for sharing.

My Lights (Updated: June 20, 2021)

MtnDon
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Our trees do not grow much in a year. At 8000 to 9000 foot elevation the growing season is short (maybe 100 days if lucky). A planation grown pine in the SE can have growth rings 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick in a single year. Even 1/2 inch.

But for northern NM this is commonplace. I have counted tree rings several times over the years. This is pretty much what I expected. I have not cut one of this size in a long time. No need to.

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Thanks for sharing the picture.
It’s nice to see the stacking layers of its bark. Wonderful!

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Yep, nice photos!

It must have been pretty boring counting all of those rings, though.  ;)

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MtnDon is timberline in your area around 10,000 feet??

Are you anywhere close to Chama???

MtnDon
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Chama is a good ways to the west.

Timberline is more like 11,000+ feet. We can see Redondo Peak which is 11,258 feet. It has trees on top, but mostly burnt sticks from a wildfire 10 years ago.

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Thanks MtnDon…. ✅