Tree Growth Ring question

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#1)  Tree Growth Ring question

Postby greentreedoc » Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:18 pm

As an arborist in Upstate South Carolina, I am doing an appraisal on a 27 inch d.b.h. street-side water oak that was recently cut down by a tree service. Determining the previous health is a big part of appraisals. Based upon the visible growth rings on the stump, this oak had been experiencing considerable growth the past dozen years until last year, when it appears to have dramatically dropped off by 80%! The tree looks relatively healthy. No signs of borers. The critical root-zone is undisturbed. No recent plumbing or pruning. I took samples from a pecan and another water oak on the same street and got similar results. I took samples of a water oak and redcedar in my backyard 20 miles away and got similar results. Local annual rainfall amounts last year were a little above average (50/48). Last year seemed like a typical year in regard to temperature, frosts and cloud cover. Observing the previous 50 years of growth on that water oak, as well as having taken samples from this area for decades, it's difficult for me to believe last year would drop so significantly. Am I missing something?
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#2)  Re: Tree Growth Ring question

Postby edfrank » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:29 pm

Randy,

I don;t have an answer for you.  Perhaps someone else might be able to comment on your question.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky
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#3)  Re: Tree Growth Ring question

Postby Larry Tucei » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:36 pm

Wow-  That is really unusual perhaps you could contact Neil Pederson.  http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/ne ... l-pederson
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#4)  Re: Tree Growth Ring question

Postby greentreedoc » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:08 am

Thank you Ed and Larry. I did send an e-mail off to Harvard. I have also contacted foresters and arborists in this state, as well as Texas. Everyone is stumped.
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#5)  Re: Tree Growth Ring question

Postby DwainSchroeder » Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:40 pm

Last winter was very cold and a late spring frost can set back trees.  They may have to expend reserves to reset new leaves, and they then may lose a few weeks of growing season in which to soak up sunshine.  But I don't think that the growth would be affected that much.  You also said that you don't believe there were any unusual frosts.  Despite the cold winter in Ohio, we didn't have any problem spring frosts in Ohio that I recall.  

Also is there any chance the last ring is still somehow in a transition mode and is not fully "set" so that it couldn't yet be fairly compared  to the older rings.  I know when I look at tree rings I never may too much attention to the last one, even if the tree is cut in the winter, because it's so close to the active area.

Dwain Schroeder
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#6)  Re: Tree Growth Ring question

Postby Rand » Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:08 pm

Another thing to consider is whether you have a double ring in a single growth season.  Did things become unusually nice late in the season, causing the tree to resume growth when it usually wouldn't?
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