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Wolf Tree

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Wolf Tree

Post by JackRabbit on Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:01 am

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sneaky smiley Have you ever heard of a "wolf tree?"

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A wolf tree is an unusually large tree which dominates the surrounding environment because of its size. Wolf trees tend to have a very large crown, and to be heavily branched. They are also usually older than the surrounding trees, although this is not always the case. Many natural forests have wolf trees, and these trees can also be spotted in settings where people are taking a relatively hands-off approach to forest management.

Classically, a wolf tree is a tree which managed to survive when an older stand of trees was damaged or significantly depleted, making it at least a generation older than the surrounding trees. For example, a single tree might be left after clearing to create a meadow, a stand of trees might be damaged by fires or storms leaving one or two survivors, or a stand might be heavily logged, leaving only a few trees behind. In these cases, the elimination of other trees allows a wolf tree to grow big and strong, because there is no competition, and younger generations grow up around it.

In forest management, a wolf tree can represent a problem. It usually eliminates competition in the surrounding area by monopolizing nutrients and sunlight, making it difficult for other trees and shrubs to grow. It may also not have very much financial value, as older trees can become twisted and knotty, making their timber largely useless. Wolf trees are aesthetically interesting, however, and they often provide habitat for animals, so they do in fact have ecological value.

The origins of the term "wolf tree" are a bit obscure. A variety of theories have been put forward, including the idea that such trees are like "lone wolves" because they tend to grow alone and isolated since other trees cannot survive around them. Others have suggested that since many cultures have historically thought of wolves as thieves, people coined the term "wolf tree" to describe a tree which was perceived as a thief of resources.

Dominant trees do, of course, seed new generations of their own, and they do eventually die, allowing new generations to grow up and take their place. These trees are often of interest to human visitors to the forest, and they can also make useful landmarks when people are giving directions. Telling people to look for a large or unusually shaped tree can help people spot the landmark well in advance, making it easier to follow directions.

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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by Breezey Breezey on Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:17 am

Look at that tree compared to the rest! It has climbing value and character!
As for it getting older and not being as valuable... that's what many think of older people too, but they still have purposes and are of value.

Ummm... okay.. I think I am done for now. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by Tater Salad on Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:11 pm

I hadn't heard the term, but I've seen many trees like that. I love a big old tree that makes a stand!

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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by hoaloha on Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:14 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] it make good firewoood????lol Let me see if I can find a banyan tree that grows here.
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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by hoaloha on Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:18 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] of trees check this out.
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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by Breezey Breezey on Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:29 pm

Ron, there's some very pretty scenery there! [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by JackRabbit on Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:36 pm

Shocked Wow, Ron ... that's cool! Thanks, I love trees.
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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by hoaloha on Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:52 pm

I am glad you enjoyed that. I am a tree lover too. That Banyan tree is so needed for shade as Lahaina gets so hot, and they just keep spreading. I was on a landscape job clearing some scrub trees from the owners hillside and there was a young banyan tree. I told the boss, that tree is a banyan so I am not touching it. I never cut it, no way. It was there for a reason.
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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by Tater Salad on Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:02 pm

Banyan trees are awesome Ron! Here's one I took a picture of on Thomas Edison's estate in Fort Meyers, Florida:

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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by hoaloha on Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:19 pm

Great picture Tater. I forgot they grew in Florida. Aren't they awesome. I am glad you enjoyed the article.
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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by Breezey Breezey on Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:48 pm

Tater Salad wrote:Banyan trees are awesome Ron! Here's one I took a picture of on Thomas Edison's estate in Fort Meyers, Florida:

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Tater... please explain these trees?

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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by Tater Salad on Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:02 pm

That's a banyan tree, Breezey. It's actually only part of one tree in that picture; like Ron said, they can take up an entire city block! What you see there are kind of like above ground roots that the tree puts out from the limbs to help support the branches, since they grow so big and long.

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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by Breezey Breezey on Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:08 pm

That is SO neat and kind of what I thought. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] I just wanted to make sure that what I thought I was seeing, was what I was actually seeing. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by Tater Salad on Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:29 pm

Yes, they are amazing trees, but I can't vouch for what you think you are seeing! Here is another view of the same tree, with a statue of Thomas Edison in front of it. It's a life size statue, to give you a perspective of the actual size of the tree.

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Re: Wolf Tree

Post by Breezey Breezey on Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:44 pm

That really fascinates me! So different from any I've seen! [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

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