Dissection of red maple fusion

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Will Blozan
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Re: Dissection of red maple fusion

Post by Will Blozan » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:24 pm

Don,

Single tree source (planted). Multiple at ground.

Will

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Rand
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Re: Dissection of red maple fusion

Post by Rand » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:45 pm

Don wrote:Rand-
A genetically undesirable trait, that prying itself apart, eh?
-Don
There is an elm on my dad's property whose two trunks joint at an extremely acute angle. It has a big old bulge of wood squished out of either side of the fusion like a giant wooden spoon with a persistent crack down the middle, so I've had an incentive to think about the problem. I think this winter I'll chip out the bark in an inverted 'V' above the fusion and see if that helps.

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mdvaden
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Re: Dissection of red maple fusion

Post by mdvaden » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:05 am

Will Blozan wrote:
Imagine a tree growing up against an object that limits its outward growth, like a rock or sidewalk edge. This is what is happening when the two stems push on each other as they grow in diameter. This wood needs to go somewhere so it bulges outwards. How the stems know to fuse is the mystery here.
That is one possibility of "a tree" that is imagined. Because there are two possibilities. Nice to see a dissected version of a genuine fused stem, as there seem few to find online.

When we imagine a tree growing against an object ... including another stem, there are two ways it can happen, and two ways to imagine it. Sometimes there is an apparent bulge or accumulation of growth. Other times there is the inclusion or restriction of growth.

The sample below, had multiple stems pressing, and that flowering plum tree had only inclusions or indented areas ... not one bulge. Of course there was zero fusion ... so the illustration is related to how we imagine tree stems growing when pressed against something.
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Re: Dissection of red maple fusion

Post by mdvaden » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:13 am

Here's another tree ... this one is closer to Will's example ... This is not two fused trees, but two co-dominant stems, but follows the same general theme. And on the side toward the lens, there is a slight bulge.

That bulge being one of at least two options for what is available and what we can imagine and expect.
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Re: Dissection of red maple fusion

Post by mdvaden » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:27 am

Here is another twin stem that never fused ... an example of inclusion. There is a distinct line of inclusion that takes a slight curve down to the indented area. That's the yellow arrow.

The green arrow is some crack-like mark in the bark. The protruding areas of this tree at ground level were where the trunk flared to roots. The man is actually standing on one of the more visible roots.

So it's clear there are at least two possibilities with multiple stems or trunks growing against something.

1. Bulge outward

2. Indentation or inclusion
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Re: Dissection of red maple fusion

Post by mdvaden » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:36 am

This Deodar Cedar is just beginning to show a slight hint of what Will posted in the OP.

There is an apparent bulge ... the stems above the bulge have not fused yet and still have included bark. There is a distinct line stemming from included bark running vertically through the bulge ... but there is a distinct bulge at least. Or two bulges near one another.

NOTE

Regardless of whether this Cedar fuses or not ... it's a perfect example of a single tree. This was a landscape specimen that was a single tree when planted, with a single root system. The extra stem emerged from the main tree. It was planted, it's been observed, it's been tended to. And from planting up until this photo, it has remained one tree, not two trees at any point in time. It will have two pith lines for quite some distance, but regardless of where the pith is located or ends, it was a single tree from the nursery.

So the point here is ... to know for a fact whether what looks like a fused trunk was one or two trees, may literally require cutting it down. And if you can't cut it down ... then there may be no way to know.

NOTE:

What may be most important about whether a tree is a single tree, has nothing to do with two piths, although that's worth considering. The most realistic approach may be whether the tree (both stems) were from a single seed and from a single root system.
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Re: Dissection of red maple fusion

Post by mdvaden » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:00 am

It seems that this first wafer was still a short ways above ground level.

How far above ground level was the top of this wafer?


Click on image to see its original size

...
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Re: Dissection of red maple fusion

Post by Joe » Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:06 pm

the photos of tree dissection remind me of the fabulous work of the late Dr. Alex Shigo- who did a lot to enlighten us about how "discoloration and decay" pass through a tree

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Re: Dissection of red maple fusion

Post by edfrank » Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:42 pm

mdvaden wrote: NOTE

Regardless of whether this Cedar fuses or not ... it's a perfect example of a single tree. This was a landscape specimen that was a single tree when planted, with a single root system.

What may be most important about whether a tree is a single tree, has nothing to do with two piths, although that's worth considering. The most realistic approach may be whether the tree (both stems) were from a single seed and from a single root system.
Mario,

That is the point. How do you define a single tree? If you define a tree as having a single trunk then this is not a single tree not matter how you rephrase it. Nobody misunderstands what you are saying, they simply disagree with your basic premise. I personally do not have a problem with the argument that this is a single tree growing from a single root system. I still do not believe that multitrunk trees and single trunk trees should be mixed on a champion tree list as they are different growth forms. I want there to be a listing for both growth forms, but if there is to be just one form included, it should be single trunk forms.

Therefore, the most realistic and pragmatic approach is to decide for champion tree point purposes only single trunks will be considered. This method does not address the question of whether this is a single tree or not, it just defines a specific subset of trees that will be considered as champions. The question isn't whether a single pith or double pith specimen is a single tree, but whether they should be on the same champion tree list.

Ed

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Will Blozan
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Re: Dissection of red maple fusion

Post by Will Blozan » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:25 pm

Mario,

Excellent photos! I like the two-way cut to show more than one angle. I can't believe that plum had not failed yet... Redbud does that a lot here. The first slice of the tree you asked about was not near the ground. It was a fused section of the tree higher up. I cut it simply for the purpose presented.

Like Ed, I would not call the cedar a single tree for measurement purposes. There is an eight-stemmed silver maple here in my town (current NC State Champion) that was planted by the late owner. He bought it at a nursery and brought it home in the trunk of his car. Apparently he planted it too deep or something and it died but sent up root sprouts. Now it is a "forest" of large stems fused (and some not) into a 7 foot diameter mass. Single root system, same seed or cutting, but not a single stem. It is an imposter, and the other trees he planted the same day are single stem and barely 2.5 feet diameter. The fused beast clearly shows what happens as a collective effort. Each individual stem of the fused beast is smaller than the individual trees planted the same day.

Are cedars rooted from cuttings? Is it possible there was more than one cutting (or seed) put in a pot to help ensure success? I ask this since when I see multi-trunked plantings of some non-fertile varieties (Chaemacyparis, etc.) I KNOW they did not fork.

Like Ed said, we are simply perceiving trees differently. I am a purist.

Will

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