What In The Woods is That?

Our biweekly guessing game!

Whatever draws us into the forest—be it birdwatching or logging, hiking or hunting—all of us are unified by the sense of wonder we feel in the outdoors. The forests, fields, and streams of our region are full of mystery, and if you stop and look closely, you’ll see all sorts of oddities.

Below find a picture of one such woodlands curio. Guess what it is and you’ll be eligible to win a Season's Main Events Day Calendar. A prize winner will be drawn at random from all the correct entries. The correct answer, and the winner’s name, will appear when the next column is posted.

This Week’s Entry: Stumped

What is happening to the top of this stump? Clue: It is part of a long row of white spruce planted together decades ago and more recently thinned by removing every other tree. Thanks to Kyle Mason for the photos.

Stumped Image

Answer

The roots of these closely spaced white spruce became naturally grafted together over time, forming, in essence, a single organism. So when some of the trees were cut down, the communal root system responded as it would to an injury and attempted to callus over the stumps. These two pieces: Why should trees have natural root grafts? and Is root grafting a positive, cooperative behavior in trees? shed a little more light on the phenomenon of natural root grafting.

This week’s contest winner was John Patterson

Visit the What in the Woods is That? archive…