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Two Stone Tree

Two Stone Tree - April 1, 2008
Two Stone Tree - April 1, 2008

Two Stone Tree – April 1, 2008

October 2014, Simon Rapley, General Manager – New Zealand Redwood Company –

The New Zealand Redwood Company sold a large volume of trees in 2008 to a family wanting to grow redwood for future generations of the family. The owner appointed Dan Minehan of Independent Forestry Services to manage the establishment of the forest on a weed and goat infested sheep farm. NZRC foresters offered advice to the owner also to ensure the project was a success.

During a visit in 2008 when the trees were nearly a year old, a number of trees were observed without a leader (A leader is the growing apex or main shoot of a shrub or tree).  The trees had been topped in the nursery and it became apparent that some trees had not formed a replacement leader. The buds that sprouted were behaving like branches and not growing vertically as any forester would want.

One tree in particular had four strong branches growing horizontally, almost in a ‘X’ configuration. There were two stones laying on the ground near the tree and it became known as the Two Stone Tree. The TST was sought out on forest visits to see when it would finally send up a strong vertical leader as it seemed inconceivable that the branches would continue to grow horizontally.

Two Stone Tree - November 23, 2009

Two Stone Tree – November 23, 2009

As grass and other weeds grew around the base of the tree and the stones, TST got lost for a while. After a determined search 18 months later the markers were re-discovered but the tree was unrecognizable. It had not, as expected, initiated a new leader but the horizontal branches like arms had curled up to stand in a vertical position.

While it may seem obvious to conclude that redwoods have muscles, we know that trees can bend their limbs by forming wood under compression in the case of softwoods (redwood is a softwood) or wood under tension in the case of hardwoods. The degree to which trees can bend their limbs is remarkable.

Two Stone Tree - April 9, 2011

Two Stone Tree – April 9, 2011

My last visit to the TST was at the time of the first prune of that stand. One of the pruners had found a tree with two leaders and a couple of large branches and removed all but the strongest leader leaving a tree with a small kink at the base but below the level of the stump.

My guess is that if I see the tree again, it will have yet again, flexed its muscles and straightened itself out to become a fine tree with a high value first log.



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