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Biologist David George Haskell teaches students how to identify trees by the sounds produced by air moving through their leaves or raindrops spattering on them. “Depending on the shapes and sizes of their leaves, the different plants react to falling drops by producing ‘a splatter of metallic sparks’ or ‘a low, clean, woody thump’ or a ‘speed typist’s clatter.’ Every species has its own song. Train your ears (and abandon the distracting echoes of a plastic rain jacket) and you can carry out a botanical census through sound alone.” Full story is available in The Atlantic.
In this edition: Spotlight on Pagoda Dogwoods, a book review of Branching Out, a compilation of articles on managing ornamental trees and shrubs written by Cornell University, information on making tea from Yellow Birch roots, information on scholarships for at tree care program designed for high school students, and much more.
A huge Polish oak tree in which two Jewish brothers hid to escape the Nazis won the contest this year (see photos below). “The hollow in which they hid was huge. People say it had two levels, the lower was used as a hideout and the upper – as a lookout. Both brothers survived the occupation but their fate after the war is unknown.”
The Brimmon Oak in Newtown, Wales, was the runner-up. Read more about these trees in the Daily Mail article.
In this edition: A detailed essay on pruning practices, spotlight on the Osage orange tree (fun fact: this tree is a remnant from before the last ice age whose fruit was thought to be eaten by Pleistocene horses or mastodons), a warning that gypsy moth defoliation may be a problem again this year, and more. ∞
Scientists can determine past changes in the sun’s magnetic field by analyzing tree rings. Now German scientists have shown that tree rings in petrified trunks from fossilized forests can be used to reveal dat about the sun’s cycles from eons ago. Data obtained from the petrified forest of Chemnitz, which was buried by a volcanic erruption 290 million years ago, showed tree ring growth patterns similar to those caused by modern sunspot activity. Below is an artist’s impression of what the Chemnitz forest looked like.
In this edition: Part 2 on the science of tree planting (see especially the info on removing excess soil to expose the root collar before planting), spotlight on the yellow birch tree, info on Arbor Day and state grants, and more.