Tree Growth Rings

IMG_0835A few weeks back, a limb split away from a tree at my brother’s home. There was a loud cracking noise as the limb began its decent, just missing the family dog.

If you’re excited about the potential of free lumber, this post isn’t for you. I don’t get pumped about converting trees to lumber, especially limb stock that is known to have twist and stress. I’ll stick to my kiln-dried stock, thank you very much. What I found amazing was the age of the limb.

You can see the tree from which the limb split in the opening photo (a click on any photo in our blog opens the image larger). It’s obviously been there for some time. (It’s huge.) How long is the question – someone more familiar with trees would be better at guessing than would I, but if the limb is any indication, the tree is old.

As he sawed the limb into sections that would fit into his fireplace, he took the time to count the rings. While fresh, he said the rings were easier to see. (When I first got a look, the rings were hidden by the chainsaw kerfs.) He counted 68 rings. OK, that’s not old if you’re making a comparison to the large redwoods out west, or to many of the trees selected and cut for lumber. But when the limb has been around for only a decade longer than me, I consider the tree old.

IMG_0837Additionally, you can see where the problem developed. That split in the middle of the limb must have been the reason he noticed water running out of the tree during a recent rain storm – he said that it was as if someone turn on the water faucet.

— Glen D. Huey

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One thought on “Tree Growth Rings

  1. I would not be one to quickly take down a tree. But I would have a long hard look at the two limbs hanging over toward the house.
    By the way- 68 only old till your 69.
    Thanks Don

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