Monday, November 28, 2011

Tree Stories - The Boulder Battle

This White Oak tree is giving a rock the boot...a woundwood shove.
 Trees can tell many stories...even while you drive down the road.  This tree's story is of a battle that has lasted many decades right here in central Pa. along Rt. 192 at R.B. Winter State Park.
Tree wound response - wound wood
 Long, long ago, the boulder somehow got into the tree's personal space and irritated the tree.  You might say, "the boulder got under the tree's bark".  Anyway, the tree began to push on the boulder.
Tree wounds are "healed" by wound wood
 Of course, the boulder shoved back.  Over the decades, this abrasive action has kept the tree occupied with trying to "wall off" or compartmentalize the wounded area, because that pesky boulder just keeps pushing back.  The tree's wound reaction is to keep building barriers...which, amazingly, has given the tree more space.
I suspect the rock might eventually win this battle of the bulge.
 ( I'm looking at the boulder's center of gravity.)  
 Although.....the White Oak does have many decades of fight left in it.
Eventually, somethin's gotta give... 'cause they won't live happily ever after.


  1. Dana, I'm trying to figure out how this battle began. I can't imagine a tiny sapling standing a chance against a rock. How did the rock and tree come together in the first place. Was the boulder once on ground and the tree has raised it up ?


  2. Sybil,
    Good question.
    My guess is the rock was pushed against the tree long ago...perhaps during road construction. I've seen similar tree/rock interactions where someone obviously leaned more manageable rocks against the trees.
    I suppose the tree could have started as a sapling beside the rock, but it is hard to imagine how the rock could have gotten into its present position....considering that tree stems don't grow up; they just grow in girth (out).