- Education and Science
Trees of New York, all red, white, and blue
The original forest of Native North America
I have always been facinated by evergreen trees. In front of my old farm house was two tall red spruce trees. They towered over my house. During a fierce storm and high winds, I would worry about them falling down on the house. They never did. Now a days, people constantly complain about trees. They rarely see their magnificent attributes. Often you will hear someone say, " Oh that aging tree is dangerous."
When I think about it, it seems so foolish. When Europeans came here to the North American Continent they found a land of ancient untouched forests bursting with trees of every color and kind. The northeast woods of America were full of pines, hazelnut, walnut, spruce, oaks, elms, plum, and cherry. I am certain no Native person feared the 'tree'. American cedars and arborvitae had no cash value to the native people. They were appreciated for their natural beauty. Elms were sacred and the center of religious life for many Algonquin tribes. Red cedars along the Hudson River were protection.
Historical records tell account of the native forests that once existed here. White pines can grow over 200 feet tall and can live to be 400 years old. If left alone, most live to around 250 years old. Glorious red spuce trees can reach 80-100 feet in height. They can live for centuries. There are 35 species of pine trees in New York State and 115 types of pine around the world. Across the world in Tasmania, the ancient notorious red pines may even date back as far as 8000 years ago.
Many blue spruce in the Rocky Mountains are destroyed for christmas trees. In Vermont coniferous tree forests are cut each year to supply big cities with attractive displays for Christmas. Our pine forests have been stripped. Most of our forests are now more hardwoods than pine. White and red pine were used to make everything from furniture to flooring. It seems to leave a vivid picture in my mind of bare spaces in the mountains of Vermont and other places around the country. Just think of how foolish and wasteful this is to kill a tree hundreds of years old for a one time display.
The red spruce trees that I once worried about never fell on my house and I am glad I never cut them down. They are still there in front of my old farmhouse healthy and thriving. In many cases trees that have destroyed homes fell not because they are aging. It is because they are not protected by other trees in a natural forest setting and are subject to wind damage while standing alone. These trees are not old. Remember 100 is not old for a tree.
So, please keep in mind when it comes to trees, what you plant and where you plant it is very important. The tree you plant will most definately out live you.