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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Black Gum

Same tree as below, main trunk. Nyssa sylvatica. Green Hill Cemetery, Greensboro, NC.

2 comments:

Bobby Bueche said...

I got a bunch of them. Cut one of those down and the wood is still fresh the next year! They are amazing. AND, the log disconnected from everything else will sprout up and down (trying to survive). Tenacious buggers. And now that you mention it they do live "under" other trees. Generally, they dont like straight lines. I'm suprised that you found such a straight one in the cemetery. And they are INCREDIBLY hard to split unless you let them dry out so long you think they must be rotten. But they are not. These things can be buried in the dirt for a year and still be hard as a rock. If I find pieces of these laying on the forest floor, no matter how old they look I can guarantee they'll still be good and hard and good for burning a nice long time. I have a huge one that I need to cut down actually, but you have reminded my how hard they are to split if. Its funny, now, but the first time I tried to split one of these, the ax bounced back and almost hit me in the forehead .... these things are so rubbery when they first get cut. I cut a small one down and spent days splitting that stuff up. I had to get a sledge hammer and a log grenade (little diamond shaped wedge). And it STILL took me forever. I thought the wood was just too green. But no tree was going to get the better of me!

Joel said...

Bobby, yes, black gums tend to be twisty and gnarly, especially if they grow in an under story. A cemetery is of course more open and such a tree is not twisting and turning to follow the light. But even this one is more twisty than this photo suggests - this is just of the main trunk. There is a large secondary trunk that is more twisted. I would like to come out and look at some of your trees, and your new meadow. Oh, black gum is also known, despite its hardness, not to fare well in soil over time.