General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not the ..

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mdvaden
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General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not the ..

Post by mdvaden » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:01 am

Recently, I realized that General Sherman giant sequoia is not the largest "single stem" tree in the world, pertaining to trees that originated single stem. I included this toward the end of a fairly detailed blog post about tree growth in general.

http://mdvaden.com/photoblog/2018/03/10 ... en-a-tree/

Years ago, did not pay very close attention to various trees regarding bark inclusions, especially when when people were continually repeating something was a "single stem" tree. Until -- one day when lighting was optimum to see the shape and inclusions on one of the 15 largest coast redwoods. Then I started to look more closely at a few trees. And the last few years, I had seen thousands of photos of General Sherman posted on Flickr, Instagram and 500px from all angles. And it was apparent there were some very long inclusion lines on more than one side of the trunk. But I knew it would take going there and actually standing, and checking out all sides. And so I had a chance to do that last October.

After returning, I'm more than 99% certain that Gen. Sherman is a huge double trunk giant sequoia. For what stands there, the combined mass remains what it is. But I won't be referring to it as the largest single stem tree in the world.

One tree I've looked at several times this year, that I can't tell for certain, is the Del Norte Titan. If it were not single stem, I think it would be a merged triple stem, rather than a merged double stem. There are lines and marks on the trunk that offer a hint of three trunks. But there's no clearly evident bark inclusions. So for the time being, I haven't spotted clear indicators that it's not a single stem. So for the DNT, I'm going with single for now. El Viejo also appears to be a single trunk origin.
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Re: General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not th

Post by dbhguru » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:22 pm

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing. I'll never look at the General Sherman tree the same way again.

Do you think the President's Tree is multi-stemmed?
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Re: General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not th

Post by mdvaden » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:59 pm

dbhguru wrote:Fascinating! Thanks for sharing. I'll never look at the General Sherman tree the same way again.

Do you think the President's Tree is multi-stemmed?
That's one of the first questions that came to mind, and one I no idea about. Whereas thousands share photos of Gen. Sherman, photos of the President are few. National Geographic has an excellent photo of the President, but only from one side. And it takes both sides to be certain. At least side to raise the question, but Nat Geo's photo was overcast winter which works like "fill light" where photographers fill shadows of people's faces, lighting from the front. Light bounced off sky and snow as a fill light minimizing shadows.

What's better to see this stuff on trees is where there's more direct light passing down and across the trunk the way a beauty dish or softbox is used to accentuate shapes. The way the lighting strikes this man is what's optimum for observing tree shapes. It defines and makes clear everything. I find early morning and late day does this often in the forest.
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Re: General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not th

Post by mdvaden » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:16 pm

This coast redwood doesn't have included bark, but the photo shows the kind of lighting that helps observe trunk detail. This is 6:50 am in the with soft morning light shining across the trunk. Sometimes, light coming the reverse direction can show even more. Like this photo of the coast redwood and the other photo with the owl. That one with owl was taken the last hour of daylight.

Then by walking close to the base and looking upward, even more is revealed by the light. We used to use light years ago to set golf course pins on the greens for tournaments. We would park the Cushman carts across the greens with lights on and the shadows would show us stuff about the shape of the greens we could never see in daylight. It showed every flaw and depression. We used it to pick fair, but the most difficult spots for the pins.
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Last edited by mdvaden on Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not th

Post by John Harvey » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:03 am

I just always assumed the line on the Sherman was a healed over fire scar. In this photo below you can see a very tall fire scar on "the column tree", one of the 15 largest and another very tall and thin scar on the Lincoln tree as well. In the image of the Sherman you can see the charcoal at the bottom of what I thought was an old wound. A lot of times you see that "inward roll" of the bark around an old split or wound.
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Re: General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not th

Post by John Harvey » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:06 am

Not the best lighting but in these photos you can see The President with it's lines. On the back side of the tree there is a deep indentation and on the side at about where Steve Sillet or whoever it was in the Nat Geo photo is standing, there is another interesting line there you can see.
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Re: General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not th

Post by mdvaden » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:52 am

Thanks John. I find with the giant sequoias that a bunch tend to have some indentation or inclusion appearance from some fire around the base or even just because that's they can be on their own. So when I'm looking for double-trunk related inclusion, I hope and want for a lot more of the inclusion showing half way or more up the trunk, and preferably both sides. If some double rounding remains, that's helpful too. So from what you showed with the President, it has enough inclusion to at least become curious. One reason it wouldn't surprise me if the President is really a true single and possibly lacks double sided inclusion, would be the age estimate for it. I've read it's age estimate is over 3000 yrs., whereas Gen. Sherman's was downgraded to more like 2200 yrs. That big gap between their ages could be related to one being a double and the other a single.

On Howland Hill Giant, most people photograph from this angle so the bark inclusions would rarely show in photos anyway. The yellow arrows mark where they are at on both sides and it runs long and fairly straight. The red arrows mark what's not related to double stem. HHG was easier to read in soft cross-lighting.

If HHG were to live another 1000 yrs. the inclusions would become more inconspicuous with each passing century, until a point where it could be very difficult to tell 10 centuries from now. At present, it's very telling.
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Re: General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not th

Post by Don » Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:59 pm

Seventeen years ago next month, our then President created the Giant Sequoias National Monument (an inclusion within the Sequoia National Forest), adding an additional measure of protection to the Long Meadow Grove of Giant Sequoias, along the Trail of 100 Giants, accessed by the Western Divide Highway (County Route SM99), some 50 miles from Springville, California.
Approximately 350 acres, this grove is at 6400' elevation, and within the classic mixed conifer vegetation zone along the western side of the Sierra Nevada Crest. I'm attaching several digital images I captured specific to the early stage of two Sequoias 'growing together'...these two Sequoias are 'middle aged' in this grove, and encountered each other (read 'went from adjacent to impacting') some several hundred years ago. It's not to hard to imagine that perhaps another thousand years hence, environment and climate permitting, the zone of inclusion will have continued up the "tree" and look for all the world, to be one tree from the bottom thirty feet or so.
View from East
View from East
View from West
View from West
Closer view from West
Closer view from West
An older trio of Sequoias is not far away, that may have started from one (either by seeds, or burls from a parent) and despite several significant fire episodes, may well "grow into each other" and with time, take on the appearance of "one Sequoia". I am attaching them below:
DSC03746.jpg
My better half has kindly positioned herself to provide a general sense of the scale of these Sequoias.
My better half has kindly positioned herself to provide a general sense of the scale of these Sequoias.
DSC03742.jpg
Last edited by Don on Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not th

Post by mdvaden » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:36 pm

Don wrote: SNIP ... It's not to hard to imagine that perhaps another thousand years hence, environment and climate permitting, the zone of inclusion will have continued up the "tree" and look for all the world, to be one tree from the bottom thirty feet or so. ... SNIP
We could even add that it can be easy to imagine. The trunks met near the base. The trunks will enlarge, and blending together is practically the only option if neither one falls. It could even happen in 400 to 500 yrs. Good image samples.
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Re: General Sherman is NOT single stem origin. Hence, not th

Post by gnmcmartin » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:23 pm

From what has been noted in this topic, it is clear that sequoia trees have an amazing ability to merge. Or, is it one tree "eating" the other, and leaving no trace, except a "seam" or a bit of a fold in the bark? This merging is so complete, that even higher up, all the way into the upper crown, all traces of one of the trees has been absorbed into the other--there is no trace of a fork of the trunk, no matter how high one goes, and the crowns, for all the world. look like they developed from the top of the remaining, un-absorbed trunk. This would argue for the one tree eating the other in some special way, and not a gradual, and ultimately incomplete growing together of two trees. But then I don't want to jump to any premature conclusion.

So, Is this a case of two trees merging so completely that all but the slightest hints, unnoticed heretofore, that there were originally two trees, have disappeared? Or is it a case of one tree completely "eating" the other? I have never seen the like in any other species of trees. I have always been amazed by giant sequoias, but this capability of these trees to merge so completely this way, or, could it possibly be, of one to cannibalize the other, has added even more to my amazement.

Perhaps this could be the basis for an article for Nature magazine. But, to get all the needed information for such an article. It would seem to me that evidence should be secured that would reflect on the question of whether the General Sherman represents a "merging of two trees" so that each of them makes up an equal, or proportional, part of General Sherman, or if one has been dominant, and has essentially "taken over" the other--"cannibalized it," so to speak? To collect this needed evidence, we might have to do some serious study of the internal structure of the wood to determine the patterns of the growth rings. I would hope this could be done with cores that would not damage the tree substantially, and not require what is often done when fully and carefully analyzing the growth of trees--"destructing sampling."

Well, while I might admire this special new-found capability of giant sequoia trees, regardless of just what it is, exactly, I am disappointed that any claim that the General Sherman has had to be the largest tree in the world, has been discredited, if that had not already been done with the recent careful measuring of the largest coast redwoods.

--Gaines

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