Giant Sequoia 2012

Giant Sequoia Range

Giant Sequoia Needles 2012

Giant Sequoia Needles 2012

The Sequoiadendron Giganteum is commonly known as Bigtree, as well as Giant Sequoia

The giant-sequoia is a massive evergreen tree, maturing to 250 ft. high with a girth of 80 ft. Bluish-green needles are crowded and spirally arranged on the twigs. The fluted trunk and red-brown bark are attractive landscape features, revealed as the tree loses its lower branches. The tree retains a narrow, pyramidal crown of foliage in the upper reaches at maturity. One of the world’s largest trees with fibrous, reddish-brown trunk much enlarged and buttressed at base, fluted into ridges, and conspicuously narrowed or tapered above; narrow, conical crown of short, stout, horizontal branches reaches nearly to base. Giant trees have tall, bare trunk and irregular, open crown.

This rare species ranks among the worlds oldest trees; felled trees show annual rings indicating up to 3200 years of age. Almost all Giant Sequoias are protected in Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia national parks, in 4 national forests, and in state parks and forests. It is a popular, large ornamental tree in moist, cool temperate climates along the Pacific Coast and around the world. The lumber is no longer used, although many trees were cut and wasted in the early logging days. Seedlings and saplings are killed by forest fires, but the very thick bark of mature trees offers resistance. Douglas squirrels cut and store quantities of mature cones, and sparrows, finches, and chipmunks destroy many seedlings.

Wood from mature giant sequoias is highly resistant to decay, but due to being fibrous and brittle, it is generally unsuitable for construction. From the 1880s through the 1920s, logging took place in many groves in spite of marginal commercial returns. The Hume-Bennett Lumber Company was the last to harvest giant sequoia, going out of business in 1924.[12] Due to their weight and brittleness, trees would often shatter when they hit the ground, wasting much of the wood. Loggers attempted to cushion the impact by digging trenches and filling them with branches. Still, as little as 50% of the timber is estimated to have made it from groves to the mill. The wood was used mainly for shingles and fence posts, or even for matchsticks.

Pictures of the once majestic trees broken and abandoned in formerly pristine groves, and the thought of the giants put to such modest use, spurred the public outcry that caused most of the groves to be preserved as protected land. The public can visit an example of 1880s clear-cutting at Big Stump Grove near General Grant Grove. As late as the 1980s, some immature trees were logged in Sequoia National Forest, publicity of which helped lead to the creation of Giant Sequoia National Monument.


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