Tree Time

 

What is time to a tree? The Pony and I call it Dendrochronology, the study of the growth rings of trees as related to climate, nutrition and time. Missouri's varied ecosystems create a great biodiversity in tree species. From the sun baked southern faces of limestone bluffs, where Eastern Red Cedars and Blue Ashes cling and few other species of tree even try to survive. A few hundred feet below them in the rich alluvial soil of the creek bottom, Shell Bark Hickories, Chinquapin and Swamp White Oaks, American Basswood and Sycamores make their home. The Sugar, Red and Black Maples find plenty of shade to grow in under the canopy of the extensive Oak and Hickory forests of the state. Serviceberry, Redbuds and Dogwoods show off their spring flowers before blending into the understory. The abundant riparian corridors that run through Missouri are lined with Cottonwoods, River Birches and Black Willows. The red clay Ozark hills are covered with Short Leaf Pine the only native pinus species for the state. Old fields are reclaimed by Honey Locust, Persimmon, Black Walnut, Eastern Red Cedar, Sumac and Sassafras. The boot heal swamps are inhabited by Baldcypress and Water Tupelo and you may even find a hidden cove of American Beech. Wild Plums, Hawthorns, Crab Apples and Mulberry create thickets of wildlife food and cover. You may find the remnants of a living fence in a Osage Orange planting at an old homestead while Slippery Elms, Hackberry and Sugarberry find their way way into old fence rows.

Tree Time which airs at 12:30 P.M. focus on one of the fine species of trees that are native to Missouri. The Ranger an academically trained forester just thinks that the more you understand about the abundance of species in your neck of the woods, the more respect you gain for each individual tree. Tree Time talks about the chosen Tree species; Leaves, Twigs, Buds, Bark and Flowers and Fruit, where you might find it growing and what differentates it from a close relative species. You can also find out where the Missouri State Champion tree for that species is growing and what makes that tree species important to it's niche of the ecosystem.

Resources:

Missouri Department of Conservation - Forestry

The Missouri Tree-Ring Laboratory

University of Missouri - Agroforestry

The United States National Arboretum

Missouri Botanical Garden

Forestry Publications from the University of Missouri

Northern Nut Growers Association Inc.

Weeds Gone Wild - Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas

Windstar Wildlife Institute


The Missouri Tree -Ring Laboratory in the year 2003 awards this symbol of our appreciation to Steve Donofrio, the Radio Ranger for bringing Dendrochronology and entertainment to the air waves via community radio KOPN

Signed Dr. Richard P. Guyette, Dr. Rose-Marie Muzika, and Michael C. Stambaugh

Ancient Oak wood (2,480 years B.P.) from Medicine Creek, Missouri