Trees add value to property. When I was appraising right-of-way for the Oklahoma State Highway Department in 1958-59, I had to award $500 per trophy tree on urban properties and $10 an inch in diameter at chest-height for fruit and nut trees on rural land. I wouldn’t take $5,000 EACH for the two oak trees in our front yard. It is estimated that trees can cut air conditioning bills in half. Urban dwellers can plant a fruit tree on the tiniest of parcels that will yield 15-20 bushels each season. An acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen — enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. In the wild, trees simply hold things together.
Trees have three strategies for surviving. First, they grow taller to rob competing vegetation of the sunlight. Second, some like the oak grow strong enough to withstand the winds that would topple. Others, like the willow, take the opposite approach by bending in strong winds. Trees growing in swampy land have no need to send down roots. Once, I saw such a tree after it had been toppled by high winds. On its side, its roots were exposed — appearing as a small, pie-plate shaped ball of roots totally inadequate to anchor such a tall tree. It never had to go down to find water so it never developed its root system.
People, like trees, need challenges to develop persistence. Poor youth experience challenges too great to overcome through persistence, and rich kids have too few challenges requiring persistence. The tree exemplifying this is Hyperion, a 379-foot tall coast redwood. The biggest is General Sherman, same kind, but heftier at 52,508 cubic feet. The broadest is 38 feet in diameter and 119 feet in circumference, and the oldest is a bristlecone pine named Methusaleh who was planted 4844 years ago.
The Forest for the Trees
One-third of the nation and one-fifth of Oklahoma’s 73 million acres are covered by forests — ranking us 36 among all states. Over 150 species of trees comprise our 14 million acres of forests which occur mostly east of I-35 and in southeastern counties. About 10,000 Oklahomans work in forestry-related jobs producing over $2.5 billion in wood products.
The best tree is The President, a giant sequoia type of redwood in the Sequoia National Park in California. It reaches 247 feet in height, spans 27 feet in diameter, has 54,000 cubic feet of mass, and reaches out with 534 branches. It is an ecosystem in itself, supporting mice, chipmunks, squirrels, five types each of butterflies and moths, 31 types of insects and spiders, four types of worms, salamanders, frogs, snails, three types of birds, three types of bats, numerous birds, and scores of plant life under its shade. It was 1,200 years old when Jesus was born. Guess what? It’s still growing! [NatGeo.Dec.2012]
Page 2 of 2 - Uses:
There are new and exotic uses such as using “sustainable” wood in the interior trim of luxury automobiles like the Fisker Karma sedan which uses “rescued wood” pulled from the bottom of Lake Michigan. The Dodge Ram Laramie Longhorn pickup uses wood from old, european walnut fence posts. An ancient use is “plank” cooking like the salmon we had in the San Juan Islands north of Seattle.
Common uses of trees are foods such as fruits, nuts, cocoa, coffee, tea, maple sugar, spices (cinnamon and cloves), smoke as a preservative of food, ornamental beauty in landscaping, building material, reeds in musical instruments, tanning hides, cork stoppers, drugs (quinine, aspirin), wigwams and canoes, rubber, turpentine, and amber jewels.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain’
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
— “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer
Trees are no longer shrubs because they fought their way up higher than lesser vegetation. Like all flora, trees grow straight up toward the sun, and the closer they get to the sun, the taller they stand. The mightiest of them is the closest to the source of their life and basis of their existence. Only God can make a tree and that’s how he does it: the tree depends on the sources of existence God provided for it. We were made by and for God, and the more we depend on Him the closer we will get to Him.
What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants cool shade and tender rain,
And seed and bud of days to be,
And years that fade and flush again’
He plants the glory of the plain’
He plants the forest’s heritage;
The harvest of a coming age;
The joy that unborn eyes shall see.
— “The Heart of the Tree” by Henry C. Bunner