Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Twisted Cedar

It’s often suggested that I prune or remove misshapen or damaged trees from Blue Jay Barrens.  If I was landscaping a lawn, I might engage in such activities.  In a natural setting, there are always trees that don’t conform to the arborist’s standards.  I enjoy the unusual shapes and would never remove something just because it was different.  This cedar has overcome an almost fatal disaster and now claims space on a rough patch of prairie.

I can’t be certain, but I feel that the first step on the road to deformity came when the cedar was twisted by a violent wind.  The trunk shows one complete spiral between the ground and the bend.

The bend most likely occurred at the same time as the twist.  It’s likely that the trunk broke as the tree was twisting.  The top would have then provided more leverage and made it easier for the wind to complete a full twist.

The pressure on the outside of the bend caused the bark to split and peel to each side.  The pinched area on the inside of the bend began growing together and now appears as a seamless join.

When viewed from above, the bend shows the exposed heart wood of the trunk.  Slow growing cedars on the dry prairies produce a very decay resistant inner wood.  Even though it has been exposed to the elements for more than 20 years, the wood shows no signs of rotting.

Branches of fallen cedars often have a difficult time reorienting their growth to an upward direction.  The result is always an interesting freestyle sculpture.  This particular specimen reminds me of Mammoth tusks and deer antlers.  If I was looking for something to liven up the yard, I don’t think I could do any better than some of these odd shaped cedars.

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