Old Trees in Wyoming

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Treed
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:11 am

Old Trees in Wyoming

Post by Treed » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:31 am

Hello.

I went back to school when my kids were grown and graduated 2 years ago at the age of 48. I got degrees in geology and biology. I worked and did research in a Tree Ring Lab while in school. During my research project, I found some pretty old trees and that got me interested in old trees, especially junipers.

It has taken me a while to get settled into my new life after graduation, but I am now ready to start my old tree search. My job is such that I work for two weeks, then I have two weeks off (I get a vacation every month!), so I have lots of time for my hobby. I will core as many trees as I can during the summer, then spend the winter processing the cores.

I live and work in Wyoming so I am going to confine my search there and I already have many places I want to investigate. Old trees are not usually the biggest, nor are they growing in the middle of the active, thriving forest. They are usually the smallest, scraggily trees growing in the harshest conditions. We have lots of harsh conditions here in Wyoming so lots of potential subjects!

If I find some populations of old trees, I hope they can be protected. I see ancient junipers cut down, or huge limbs whacked off all the time. I am pretty sure it's from people who are making furniture and it really makes me mad. If they are doing it for firewood, that is worse, but at least those people probably just don't know what they just cut. I hope to share my data with anyone so that more of these old trees can be protected, or at least increase the awareness within the public-land-using public so they can avoid damaging these trees.

I just found this site and read about the meeting in Durango. I wish I could go, but I work. It sounds super interesting.

I look forward to "meeting" the folks here and am happy to answer any questions about coring trees, etc. I am leaving for California today so I won't be around for a few.

Thanks!
Jena

Edited to say "now" ready to start...not "not ready to start" lol
Last edited by Treed on Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Larry Tucei
Posts: 2017
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:44 am

Re: Old Trees in Wyoming

Post by Larry Tucei » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:57 am

Hi Jena- Welcome aboard. It's good to get someone on from Wyoming! Look forward to the results of your coring. When I was near Trinidad Col. hiking several years back I came across many old Junipers in the foot hills of the Spanish Peaks. There were tons of Pinion Pine, Cedar and Juniper. Some were so gnarly looking it was amazing. In such a harsh environment the really larger ones must have been centuries old. Send us some photos! Larry

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Don
Posts: 1570
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: Old Trees in Wyoming

Post by Don » Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:56 pm

Jena/Larry-
Yes, welcome to the forum, and hopefully you'll continue to contribute as a member of the Western Native Tree Society (WNTS) branch of NTS!
I'm also a lover of ancient junipers and have been for some time. I'm attaching an image taken of an ancient juniper that I focused on, in an entire stand of them at the edge of the Hoover Wilderness in central eastern California (east of the Pacific Crest). The Pacific Crest is a wonderful section of the Sierra Nevadas for exposure to western juniper...they are often found at the higher elevations for much of the length of the Sierras. A second juniper image I'm attaching was captured at about 7000' near Loon Lake on the western slope of the central Sierra Nevadas, more recently in 2012.
By the way, you won't have to core many junipers to find that they have rather indistinct and thin annual rings...one of the more difficult species to age. Like most species that live long, they have cues such as gnarly weathered branching, tufted foliage, and senesced limb tips that attest to their long exposure to the climatic trends. All a part of their beauty, uniqueness!
1984 Backpacking image - Hoover Wilderness
1984 Backpacking image - Hoover Wilderness
Westside Juniper, 2012
Westside Juniper, 2012
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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Erik Danielsen
Posts: 897
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Old Trees in Wyoming

Post by Erik Danielsen » Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:20 pm

Coring scraggly junipers sounds like an exciting challenge! I can relate to your love of those old, gnarled trees. Over in WNY I'm in the vicinity of the thin crescent-shaped native range of the Northern Whitecedar, Thuja occidentalis, a cousin to the junipers though much closer to the giant western redcedars. They're perhaps our closest eastern parallel to all those ancient western mountain trees (along with some cliff-hanging eastern redcedars, another juniper), reaching great age in stunted forms in harsh growing conditions. I don't think any other "genre" of trees is so fascinating as such weathered old forms, especially those members within Cupressaceae (the pines don't excite me as much for whatever reason). I'm going to be doing some (less challenging) coring in some of the northern hardwood forests over here this fall, but I'm not sure that will be so exciting. I'll look forward to your reports!
Attachments
Our eastern Juniperus virginiana typically doesn't get very big but some of the cliff-dwellers in the regions gorges have been cored at at least 600 years. This one's in Zoar Valley but probably not nearly so old.
Our eastern Juniperus virginiana typically doesn't get very big but some of the cliff-dwellers in the regions gorges have been cored at at least 600 years. This one's in Zoar Valley but probably not nearly so old.

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Larry Tucei
Posts: 2017
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:44 am

Re: Old Trees in Wyoming

Post by Larry Tucei » Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:30 pm

Don- Wow those are some awesome old Junipers!! Way cool! Larry

Treed
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:11 am

Re: Old Trees in Wyoming

Post by Treed » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:40 pm

Don,

I worked on a project where we dated an antelope trap and that involved cross dating a bunch of juniper. Yeah...not my favorite wood to work with! We took a fair number of cross sections, knowing it was going to be tough. I could count rings out on those cross sections in three different places and get counts that were 40-50 rings different in number. I have been trying to read all I can about strip bark growth and tree rings. I still have access to my college library so I can download most papers, but I bet there are plenty more I am missing. Do you know of any resources that I ought to check into?

I know when we cored those juniper, we weren't too particular about where we cored them. I plan to core through the living bark. I figure that is the area that sound be the most accurate, but what do I know. I think I will also have to get a longer increment borer for some of these guys.

I do plan on coring any old trees I run across...well...conifers anyways.

Treed
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:11 am

Re: Old Trees in Wyoming

Post by Treed » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:41 pm

...and PS...those are amazing junipers in those pics!!! I just might have to go find them someday!

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Don
Posts: 1570
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: Old Trees in Wyoming

Post by Don » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:25 pm

Treed-
A couple of comments...there are half a dozen species that come to mind, that when old can have the "strip bark growth", essentially their mechanism to operate under their most efficient economy of energy. Foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana), Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva), Rocky Mtn. bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata), limber pine (Pinus flexilis), and Juniperus occidentalis often share similar environments (high elevation, sparse treeline presence).

I would encourage you to contact dendrochronologists in your region for techniques of coring these ancients, and the efficacy of coring in the "strip bark growth" area (you may endanger the already stressed nutrient/moisture pathways). University of Arizona (http://www.ltrr.arizona.edu/), University of Colorado at Boulder (http://instaar.colorado.edu/dendrolab/), Utah State University Dendro Lab (http://cnr.usu.edu/htm/facstaff/derose/dendro) are a few that you might try...

Additionally, NTS has several members who have sufficient expertise in this area to properly advise you...I suspect that several may contact you (Dave Stahle, Neil Pederson) if they are not field-bound this summer season.
Citations? Here's one to get you started, particularly in Appendix 2:
ANALYSIS OF RADIAL GROWTH PATTERNS OF STRIP-BARK AND WHOLE-BARK BRISTLECONE PINE TREES IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS OFCALIFORNIA: IMPLICATIONS IN PALEOCLIMATOLOGY ANDARCHAEOLOGY OF THE GREAT BASINByLinah N. Ababneh _____________________________________ Copyright ©Linah N. Ababneh 2006A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of theDepartment of GeosciencesIn Partial Fulfillment of the RequirementsFor the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYIn the Graduate CollegeTHE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA2006
Hope this helped!
-Don


Treed wrote:Don,

I worked on a project where we dated an antelope trap and that involved cross dating a bunch of juniper. Yeah...not my favorite wood to work with! We took a fair number of cross sections, knowing it was going to be tough. I could count rings out on those cross sections in three different places and get counts that were 40-50 rings different in number. I have been trying to read all I can about strip bark growth and tree rings. I still have access to my college library so I can download most papers, but I bet there are plenty more I am missing. Do you know of any resources that I ought to check into?

I know when we cored those juniper, we weren't too particular about where we cored them. I plan to core through the living bark. I figure that is the area that sound be the most accurate, but what do I know. I think I will also have to get a longer increment borer for some of these guys.

I do plan on coring any old trees I run across...well...conifers anyways.
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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