Monday, July 15, 2013

Redwoods on the Toandos

Near the southern end of the Toandos Peninsula along Hood Canal I came across a tree I did not recognize. Clearly a type of pine tree. There were numerous pines of the same species, but these were trees not native to the western Washington low land forests as far as I knew.

Trunk of unidentified pine


 Blurry view of a cone and note the better focusses carpet of needles

I had not previously been in this valley, but had been told that the site had at one time been an experimental forest. Hence, the pines. Initially I did not notice any other species. The forest was the usual mix of red alder, western red cedar, Douglas fir, western hemlock, and big leaf maple. But there were the occasion grand firs and even a Sitka spruce. So clearly some variety. Except for the strange pines though, nothing realy unusual. Well not until I spotted this tree:

This tree is a coastal redwood. It had the classic red spongy bark. Once I saw one I noted that there were numerous redwoods in the stand. They appeared healthy. But they are well outside their natural range. There are park specimens - one is located on the State Capitol campus and there is another growing along Ainsworth Street in Tacoma and I am sure there are others.

The natural range of these trees is very restricted to the coastal mountains of northern California to slightly north of the California border. Their natural red provides lots of rain, but also long dry stretches with summer fog and moderate temperatures. The climate on the Toandos is not so different than the north coast of California, but the tree competition is intense and that competition may be why the redwoods never expanded northward into Washington State.

1 comment:

Ryan M. Ferris said...

I would guess Cedars filled their niche more adroitly. But Sequoia of all three types grow here. Giganteum is an ornamental plant in some areas of Bellingham. With their shallow roots, that may only work out well for a few millennia...