What most impresses you?

General discussions of forests and trees that do not focus on a specific species or specific location.

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RayA
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What most impresses you?

Post by RayA » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:43 pm

I'd like to know what one tree characteristic most impresses or draws the attention of each of you.

Is it tree height, or girth? Or maybe some other characteristic?

I'd guess most people would go with girth, but maybe not.

(I realize of course that NTS folks are usually looking for the tallest trees out there,
but is it height that is most impressive to you, or some other quality?)

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Don
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Re: What most impresses you?

Post by Don » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:40 pm

Ray-
You've probably heard my views on this through Bob, as we ventured into this topic back in the beginning of time!
Life's a journey, and so is my attention drawn by a tree, as I journey towards it...hints of its height from an emergent crown, or images of a weatherbeaten/rime ice rounded top rattle around in my brain until I can no longer ignore them...as I saunter their way, the forest around it/them unveils slowly more and more of the crown, and the additive effect of knowing the crown's top and the crown's spread are synergistically enticing. But bottom line? It's a gobsmacking trunk that gathers my focus...especially if I'm able to see it from a distance and it looks big, and as I close in on it, it boggles the mind it could be that big...
Not much help, I suspect...but that's how it is with me.
Attaching an image of my sweetie for scale in front of my latest biggest...cover the top half of the trees, and what a big tree they look like! Likely to be a 'cathedral' (those three descended (or ascended?!) from a grand daddy/daddy through one reproductive means or another)
-Don
Sequoia National Monument, Trail of 100 Giants, California
Sequoia National Monument, Trail of 100 Giants, California
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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George Fieo
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Re: What most impresses you?

Post by George Fieo » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:04 am

Ray,

I may have to agree with Don. As I glance through the forest and at first see an opening ,almost bare, in the understory do I truely look up. The crown spread of a dominant forest tree supresses most everything beneath it, at least here in the hardwoods of the northeast. A dominant shrub becomes barren etc. That's what catches my eye. I then look to the crown. Few heavy/thick branches. The more knarly the better/weathered. Then I look at trunk volume. I then inspect the trunck. I look for baldness and thickness of furrows if possible, depending on which species. Not sure if I answered your question but I see the forest as it is. I heard a quote once. Not sure how it goes but I'll try. A tree supports the forest but the forest sustains the tree. We can't forget the little things either. The bark pattern of a mature bladdernut or fat flowering dogwood impress me just as well. So for me it's a combination of things. To answer your question I would have to say height combined with girth.

George

Joe

Re: What most impresses you?

Post by Joe » Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:51 am

For me, it's not the size that counts. :)

What I like is uniqueness. I've seen countless numbers of every species to be found in Massachusetts. Seeing the biggest of a species is still special- but- each tree like each person is an expression of the fundamental forces of nature. Most trees like most people are a bit boring to look at- but sometimes nature does something special- it creates a tree or a person that is particularly interesting- it could be a unique shape if a tree- or a special, saintlike expression on a face. I suspect this is what an artist looks for. I'm no artist but I can appreciate what the artist is looking for.

But I also appreciate the less noble economic value of trees. If I see a tree that is growing value at a terrific rate- that also impresses me. Most forests I see in my work have been abused- but if I'm working in a forest that hasn't been abused but consists of very vigorous trees of the species best suited to the site- and the stand has been thinned to allow maximum growth of economic and ecological values- for me, that's a thrill. It's growing value but it's also just the sense of vigorous nature- the "life energy" at its best.

Joe

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dbhguru
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Re: What most impresses you?

Post by dbhguru » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:23 pm

Ray, et. al.,

This is a very thought-provoking question. I have no single preference because I am attracted to a wide range of physical features and I have a hard time ranking them. In trips down the Blue Ridge Parkway, I often find the bonsai-forms of table mountain pines against a backdrop of waves of blue ridges to be most eye catching. In a fog-shrouded upland forest, a contorted yellow birch is likely to hold my attention. In a uniform hardwood forest, a sentinel old white pine thrusting its crown through the hardwoods steals the show. In a sea of slender second-growth timber, a lone wolf tree may take home the honors.

The engineer in me loves to measure and sometimes its hard for me to separate out the enjoyment of confirming a new height champion from the actual attractiveness of the tree. I have to turn off my mental calculator and appeal to artistic sensitivities. For example, the Jake Swamp is our New England height champion, but to my eyes #2 Saheda has a more appealing form. Saheda has superior symmetry and its long trunk is not encumbered with the remains of old limbs that interfere with trunk lines.

I celebrate diversity in shapes. The uniformity of plantation trees is a real turn-off for me. Yet a single highly symmetrical tree is grove of poorly formed, sickly looking specimens is a thing of beauty.

That's it for now.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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mdvaden
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Re: What most impresses you?

Post by mdvaden » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:29 pm

Foliage.

Whenever I go to a nursery, garden or forest, I enjoy touching and looking at foliage ... primarily needles and leaves.
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Erik Danielsen
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Re: What most impresses you?

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:30 pm

While there are a lot of things I love about a lot of different trees, what really gets me going is height. Whether it's a gnarly old-growth tree or slender young beanpole, if it's really putting it up there, I am impressed equally (and particularly appreciate the contrast in that sense that can sometimes be observed between two tall specimens of the same species reaching similar heights but with very different age and form). It's also relative, of course- a bayberry exceeding 20 feet tall is pretty darn exciting in its own right.

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Matt Markworth
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Re: What most impresses you?

Post by Matt Markworth » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:06 am

Ray,

Great question!

Not much catches the attention and captures the imagination quite like a gnarly, old crown. The patterns are interesting in their own right, and beyond the initial wow factor it's fun to imagine what events led to all the twists and turns.

This painting from the Kano school comes to mind as an extreme example. At one time it served as a wall in a Zen temple in Kyoto.

The painting: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/images/hb ... 268.48.jpg

Background details: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1975.268.48/

Matt

Joe

Re: What most impresses you?

Post by Joe » Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:13 am

Matt, very nice! Amazing, the difference between east and west aesthetics.
Joe

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Don
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Re: What most impresses you?

Post by Don » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:00 pm

Thinking respect for elders?
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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