Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

Trees and Thanksgiving

By Wayne Tellekson, Becketwood Member

Becketwood has beautiful trees. According to Jeff, we have 596 of them. But unfortunately this winter 29 are scheduled to be cut down. Almost all of them are Green Ash and the cause is that dratted beetle! From almost any window in the building there are beautiful trees. We have 33 species (61 when you include the subspecies, i.e. red, bur, swamp, white and pin oak). They add to the beauty of our property and to our health and happiness – as Peter Wohlleben says so well. Look at them. Value them. Pick one as your special tree.

Trees hold leaves up to the light. The underside of leaves are the mouths to breathe. Trees breathe also through leaves, bark and roots.

Conifers have needles to protect themselves so deer won’t eat them. They’re green year round, so any warm day in the winter they can make sugar

A beech tree can have up to 200,000 leaves. A full-grown spruce can have as many as 10,000,000 needles.

Trees take a big gulp of water before making leaves in spring. If you held a stethoscope to the bark, you could hear the water rushing up.

A tree can feel more with its roots than we can with our fingers. When its roots meet roots of a neighboring tree, it knows if it’s family. If so, they grow together. They can send messages and exchange sugar of neighbor is in need.

Sometimes trees like each other so much that they no longer live separately. They grow their roots together to become like a single tree. Their crowns face away from each other so they don’t get in the way. They send out branches that don’t bump.

We get wrinkles as we age, so do oaks. They get deep wrinkles in their bark as early as 20 since they get wider each year and the growth comes inside the bark – the outer bark has to split.

If a tree grows up in a forest, it has neighbors and family and lives longer. If it lives in a park, it probably stands alone. It may be more beautifully shaped. Thus it gets more light…grows faster, but may die at 300 instead of living to be 1,000. Trees live longer at Becketwood (or in forests) than they do on city streets. They have company and nourish each other and generate more soil for roots. Also less salt, exhaust etc.

Trees can tell through their bark that cold is coming. Cautious trees drop leaves beginning in October to be safe. Courageous trees wait a bit longer. If there is a warm autumn, they can store up on sugar and be stronger the next spring. But if they wait too long, they can’t drop their leaves and they spend winter with brown leaves that may catch heavy snow and weaken the tree. Deciduous leaves freeze at first hard frost, so the trees drop leaves before that.

There’s a spruce tree in Sweden called “Old Tjikko” that’s only 16 feet tall, but is 9,550 years old. In Utah there are 400,000 trunks growing out of a common root spread across 106 acres. It’s called “Pando.” The world’s smallest trees grow in Lapland because there is so little light and water – they grow only to shrub size.

Apple trees COUNT the number of days that reach 68 and then they leaf out!

In spring, try eating young birch leaves – a bit sour. Or light green tips of spruce – tart and a bit bitter.

In summer, it could be 18 degrees cooler under the oak forest than in the circle drive. No horseflies or deer flies either. Winter snow is good for trees, similar to a warm blanket.

from Peter Wohlleben – Can You Hear the Trees Talking?

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  • Judy November 29, 2019, 6:35 pm

    Trees are such unsung heroes yet this articlen has magifed my appreciation. Thanks.

  • Dorothy Johnson November 29, 2019, 6:57 pm

    Beautiful piece, Wayne.

  • carol bechtel December 3, 2019, 10:54 pm

    Wayne, Great article on a great subject. Have you read The Overstory by Richard Powell? I recommend it!