IF A TREE FALLS IN THE FOREST

If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? I'm going to weigh in with my own answer to this age old question: No. I say that because on Sunday we discovered that a very large tree had, in fact, fallen in our woods, not far from our house, and until we tried to walk down our little path in the woods, we had absolutely no idea it had fallen.


It's a sad loss because it was yet another birch and of the few birches that remain on our property, it was one of the healthier ones. Birches are not long-lived trees in our area and I think most of the birches on our property were planted (or planted themselves) at about the same time, so we've been losing them steadily since we bought the house 14 years ago.

It turns out that the rather torrential rain we had last week did it in. I'm not sure how much rain we got but it was certainly a few inches at least over a handful of days. This birch, a naturally shallow-rooted tree, was growing in the woods near the creek and seems to have just toppled over, roots and all. Unfortunately it landed in a younger maple tree where it is currently hung up so we'll have to do something about that and a some point we'll take care of the trunk.

Unfortunately it's hung up in an otherwise healthy maple, so we'll have to get in there to free it up.
A few big branches fell onto the little path that we mow through the ferns in the woods in order to get to the road to the east of us. The branches are beautiful white ones, perfect for Christmas decorations, but I'm torn between wanting to find a spot to save them and wanting to stick them in the chipper shredder to make some great mulch.

So yep ... somehow a big 'ol tree fell and we had no idea. At least one mystery is solved.



9 comments :

  1. It is amazing how a large tree can come down and you don't know a thing about it until you walk by it. White birches don't thrive here. Occasionally you will see one here and there but as beautiful as they are they don't like our climate.

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    1. Yes, they really aren't a great tree for here. I wonder if nurseries share that message with buyers.

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  2. Dead trees are an important feature in a natural landscape. They may not look attractive to us but they harbor s wealth of animal species which feed other animal species. Please consider just cutting enough to keep your path and leave the rest lie. Northern Michigan used to be full of the beautiful paper birches and others but sadly they are dying off at a very fast pace. No longer do we see the sights of my 50's childhood. Climate, logging and disease take their toll.

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    1. Great point, Marilyn. Our woods is a pretty natural area. We don't do much maintenance or cleanup in there unless it's in danger of falling on something important. Once the ferns die back we'll get in there and get a better feel for that tree's location and the majority of it will probably stay (next to several other parts of fallen birches) so long as it's not blocking the floor of the mini-creek.

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    2. The flow of the creek, not the floor, although maybe that too! :)

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    3. We never heard the big brach that recently fell outside our bedroom window when it came down. Guess you have to be right next to it when it happens to hear anything.

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  3. It would still made a sound! Just because you were not there to hear it doesn't mean it did not make a sound. Our trouble is that sometimes we hear a tree fall somewhere in our forest surrounding the house, but can't find it! LOL! :)

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  4. Looking at one of those pictures it looks like you may have Chaga growing on one of the birch. It is a mushroom that is great for making tea. It is that dark lump/bump growth on the side of the birch. You would want to harvest it before the tree starts to decompose. Do a google search to find out more about chaga and chaga tea - have a good one

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