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aspen ..the mother of all trees (in the forest)..

 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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We found the mother of all aspen trees in our forest a couple weeks ago. It has been our quest to get to it as it is in a wet area and difficult to get to. We have seen it from a distance for quite a while, but access has been next to impossible. Well we made it and I have proof, photos of my husband hugging the big ole girl. She is the mother tree of all the aspen trees in our personal forest, aspen trees have one communal root, and it is amazing that it will continue to feed mama even though the trees may be 1/4 mile or more away from her.

See the link for some incredible photos of the big girl.

http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/

after taking these photos yesterday my husband and I picked our way out a different way then we went into the woods, and we located a possible route to the big tree. Today my son Joel and I took the tractor and the brushhog back down the trails and found a route to the Big Tree, but we forgot the camera. Joel was amazed at how the tractor looked like a toy next to the large tree. Anyway, now we have a rough trail through the woods to the big gal so we can get to it any time we want. We are being especially careful not to damage any of it's connecting roots to the surrounding forest as we would love to preserve this old lady as long as we possibly can.

So if you have an aspen forest, have you ever found the mother tree? Would love to see photos of your Mother Tree.
 
John Polk
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Enjoyed reading about this, and seeing the picture. Great tree!

I was saddened however, when I got to the bottom, and the GoogleAd was for a local Stump Grinding Co.

 
Brenda Groth
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that's awful, I have no control of the google ads....the mighty tree will not fall to that fate
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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For other trees called "white poplar" see white poplar
Populus tremuloides

Quaking aspen grove, Utah, U.S.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Populus
Section: Populus
Species: P. tremuloides
Binomial name
Populus tremuloides
Michx.


Populus tremuloides is a deciduous tree native to cooler areas of North America, one of several species referred to by the common name Aspen. It is commonly called quaking aspen,[1][2] trembling aspen,[1][2] American aspen,[2] Quakies,[1], mountain or golden aspen,[3] trembling poplar,[3] white poplar,[3] popple,[3] and even more names.[3] The trees have tall trunks, up to 25 m (82 ft) tall, with smooth pale bark, scarred with black. The glossy green leaves, dull beneath, become golden to yellow, rarely red, in autumn. The species often propagates through its roots to form large groves.

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2010/08/the-pando-worlds-oldest-organism-80000-or-800000-years-old.html

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=slv8-msgr&va=quaking+aspen

some people may not realize that when an ancient aspen tree matures it loses its baby bark (the light colored smooth bark) and gets a corky bark similar to maples and oaks..this one has been mature since before I was born and has been talked about for years in this area. It is about 500' north of our house in our woods and is the elder tree of the clan.
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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Many consider aspen woodlands to be the most massive living organisms on the planet. The clones truly are one tree and can be vast. Your mother tree may be the oldest stem around, but I suspect the Being itself is much more ancient that it. It's difficult to age clones but the Pando clone is estimated to be 80,000 years old, and could be up to 1 million! There are other very large clones that remain unstudied.

In coastal old growth you are overwhelmed with an immediate sense of age and grandeur...it's more subtle in an aspen wood, but there if you are sensitive to that sort of thing.

As you spend time on your land you might be able to pick out different clones...they tend to shift colour at the same time in the fall, so you might notice patches in the forest...also they are dioecious, so groups of male and female trees will be part of different individual organisms.

Isolated clones make me think of the Ents...they do age, and their ability to sexually reproduce declines which puts them at risk as they cannot disperse and establish new clones.

quick summary here we all gotta go sometime

or geek right out and read the paper aging in a long lived clonal tree (thanks public library of science!)

Check out the Pando clone!
pando wiki
ah..posted at the same time, i see you're on it...




 
Tyler Ludens
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Many of our oak groves are clones and now we're getting oak wilt, entire groves are dying.....
 
Max Kennedy
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I've seen some old aspens but I don't think I've seen one that size. Usually they have heart rot and a strong wind eventually bests them. Worth the work of getting to and worthy of our wonder!
 
Miles Flansburg
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Here is one of the oldest aspens we have.

http://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii370/Wyomiles/Gulch/mnbigtree1.jpg

But I am confused. In wyoming and colorado the old aspens will have darker , deeper bark only a few feet from the bottom, not all the way up. Your tree looks more like a cottonwood to me.

And a white poplar is not an aspen. But is related. They are the trees who's bark starts out looking like aspen and change to the deep bark as they age. The leaves are totally different than an aspen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populus_alba

Maybe aspen look different in different parts of the country?
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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when we moved onto this property there was a second group of ancient aspens..there were 3 together in a group and they also had developed the dark corky bark all the way up. It takes well over 50 years for an aspen to develop the dark corky bark. In MY lifetime here I have seen several of them change from the white/grey bark with dark marks to the dark corky bark, but it is a a slow gradual change and only on super healthy trees.

You are right that generally quaking aspens do NOT live long enough to develop the dark corky bark all the way to the top. We also have hundreds that die yearly. Generally an aspen, if it gets any bark damage of any kind, will die at a very young age. I believe the reason the parent trees live longer is because they are being fed by the clones all around them, thus they continue to get gobs and gobs of nourishment from all the little babies..

Think of it this way however..If you are a large tree not in the center, but out on one of the longer roots..you are instead of getting food from all the other trees, getting robbed of food by your neighbors. Thus when you need help..instead of getting food sent to you to help you, babies are popping up and sucking the life out of you.

A central tree will benefit from the babies going out and finding new sources of nutrients and sending them back to ma..but the outer rim trees are more likely encountering dangers and are also having more babies suck the life out of them..rather than feed them...so they are more likely shorter lived..

I know it is difficult to see the leaves of the Big Tree, but it is a quaking aspen, and it is rooted to all the baby aspens around it, the clones. We DO however have some other aspens on the property that are not quaking aspens. We have found balsam poplars in the area..much different leaves..and we have a few that have much more pronounced heart shaped leaves that are smaller and a much different shape..we have probably 3 or 4 varieties that have heart shaped leaves and can't reallly identify those from the quaking aspens, but our land is primarily quaking aspens and this is the central tree ..all roots go to it form the center out..so we know this is the parent tree.

Also in looking at trees we have found several trees in the forest that we are unable to identify as well so we will be looking to identify those in the future.

Also nearby this tree on Thursday when we were building the road, my son tried to go over what was apparently HIGH GROUND..not.. He sunk about 5' deep in black muck..and we figured it was just a very rich deposit of hemic histosol. When he went back there 2 days later the entire area was flooded, but there was no rain ! He figured out he had sunk into a spring that was bulging up out of the soil making it appear to be higher ground, but it was actually just a spring attempting to puncture the surface of the soil. This was a strange thing to find as well, but the presence of cedar trees in the area did confirm that it was wet there. Obviously all roads will have to go around these areas, but it is likely that this new finding will result in a small pond on the site where he sunk and had to dig his way out using the bucket on the tractor.

Thinking of putting in some blueberry plants and maybe some highbush cranberries in this area of the woods in the future beside the road where he had turned off and sunk ..to extend the food value of the forest
 
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