I wanted to share with you this pretty amazing tree I saw this weekend. My friend Eric and I hiked the Dry River Canyon in the Badlands just East of Bend (an excellent, easy hike I would recommend). The trail pretty much ends at a couple of Ponderosa Pines, which shouldn’t necessarily be growing there since it is doubtful the rainfall average is high enough for them. Along the 2 mile path there are a few other Pondos but the path is mostly lined with sagebrush and Western Junipers. But this one Pondo (about 80 ft tall) not only has to battle the climatological forces against him (yes it’s a boy tree) but also that he is growing upon a pile of basalt rock! The trunk is being girdled by the rocks which limits the amount of nutrients getting to the roots. The poor fella is already in serious decline and probably won’t last much more than a few more years before completely choking himself out and toppling . The crown was about 60% dead and it had a pretty good lean going towards the South. Despite all of this the tree was enduring.
It truly is amazing all that a tree can survive and still continue to grow in very inhospitable conditions. It is a testament to tree’s strength but we should not take it for granted especially in the built environment. Our job in an urban forest should be to foster the growth of the trees which surround us in our daily life.