After weeks of storms and wild weather, I finally got out to the forest this week to carry on with my recording. As far as I can find out, all the living veterans and ancients are fine, and just a few birches have fallen. That’s good then.
But… a couple of the standing dead trees didn’t do so well. One is a tree that I came across in September. It’s right next to a grassy path, a hollow shell of a trunk that had a wide long opening on one side.
I remember it well because of a very distinctive hollow root – maybe the root was damaged when the army were in the forest during the war? Or before? The tree was alive at that point, and healed the edges around the damaged area, but the wood inside the root had decayed away since then, leaving a cavity. The tree still had bark on when I saw it, and had only died within the last ten years.
This week I was walking on that same path, and it was a case of ‘hang about, there’s that hollow root’ but the tree was on the ground!
Interesting that the hollow root stayed right there in the ground, whereas most of the others tore out of the ground. The foxglove is still there.
Elsewhere in the forest, but not too far away…..
Another fallen tree – quite a different one! This one was a tall dead oak with many holes, one that has been dead for quite some time. This was definitely a fresh fall – the brown rot was such a vibrant colour, and was spilling out of the trunk. Actually it was really interesting to see just how hollow the trunk was/is, along its length, and what the inside is like – often quite difficult to tell from the outside.
So this tree was quite solid still, lower down, but the brown rot was sort of crumbly, alongside the more solid deep/rich brown wood. The brown rot didn’t look cuboid, like it sometimes does. The outside of the barkless trunk is a weathered grey-buff colour.
Definitely not at the stage of being a hollow shell yet – or at least in the lower trunk.
The upper trunk is more like a hollow shell and it broke apart in the fall. The inside decaying wood couldn’t hold the trunk together
Some of the wood at the very top of the tree was interesting – full of invertebrate holes:
I’d been to this area back in the autumn but had decided not to record some of the trees on that visit – the nettles and undergrowth were too dense, and yes, it’s definitely easier to walk in that area now. I did take photos from a distance – useful, in hindsight. Here’s what I think is this tree (have to double check all my notes…) while it was still standing:
I wish I’d have recorded it fully back then – it would have been really interesting to see if there were any cracks or flaws that meant that it broke where it did. I’ll go back to it over time now, to see how it changes now it’s on the ground. Certainly a different habit niche for different invertebrate species.
That’s it for now….
Coming soon – trees with props under their branches.