H is for height

Height. Great height. Standing tall. I live in a culture that values height.  If you’re tall, you’ve got it all. Or so it seems to those of us who are small. What can I say? I’m not at all tall, and I’m not going to get any taller! So let’s talk about nonhuman living things that are tall. My theme is “spring unfolding,” and, in nature, the things that are tall are trees and giraffes. Giraffes are not native to North America so I will focus on trees.  Do we believe that trees that are tall have it all? Do we show mad love and respect for our tall trees? And we do have some impressively tall trees. The tallest trees are out west but I haven’t seen them. California Redwood and Sequoia don’t grow here. I guess that I will have to put visitng places that have those mighty trees on my bucket list. I don’t mind being small around the tallest of trees. 

And tall they are. The Giant Sequoia is known to be a massive tree. Its average height is 164 to 279 feet (50 to 85 meters). And it lives a long time, from 3,000 to 4,000 years. It takes 500 to 700 years for sequoias to reach maturity. Being an immature 500-year-old is really something.  But, eventually, even giant sequoias die. They fall over because of storms and then they begin the slow process of decomposition, feeding the soil and causing the cycle of life to repeat itself.

The world’s tallest tree lives in California. It is a coast redwood called Hyperion and it is more than 379 feet (115.5 meters) in height.

In New York State, the tallest tree is a tulip tree, called the Mill Neck Tulip Tree. It is 167 feet tall (about 50 meters), and it lives in Zoar Valley, in Western New York. Western New York’s oldest tree can be found in Buffalo. But where? There’s a sycamore tree on Franklin Street that is 308 years old. There are reports of an oak tree in Delaware Park that is 318 years old, soooooooo….

Well, here in Grand Island, we’ve got some tall trees, but very old trees? Probably not. Nearly all of the white oaks were removed in the nineteenth century and were turned into mastheads for ships. Nevertheless, our tall trees are becoming fewer in number because of diseases and infestations, such as the emerald ash borer. So let’s talk about that aforementioned mad love andrespect for trees here in Grand Island and in your communities. What are some things that we could all do to keep our tall trees looking tall and mighty? How about sending a gift of a tall tree of the future by participating in various tree plantings that occur around arbor day, which is at the end of this month.  Tree plantings are a great sign of spring unfolding and they are a gift to future generations.    


7 thoughts on “H is for height”

  1. Friends and I took a road trip from the tall trees of Washington down the coast to California. We drove straight through, drove into the Redwoods around 3 in the morning on a night with no moon, and sacked out in the car. When we woke up and crawled into the outdoors, we were greeted by another world. The trunks of the trees were wider than our cars.

    I'd been to the Redwoods before, but this was a startling return. Awesome!

    And, FWIW, the world is built for short people. I have to bend over for so many things. Sinks are low, mirrors cut off my head, using ATM pin pads is tough because I can never see the screen. And I'm only 6'2" (I won't do that in meters).

  2. I am not tall at all, either! And I have seen the redwoods – they are amazing. Hope you get to see them in person someday. I love trees, in general, so thanks for this post about them.

  3. I seem to recall visiting Highland Park in Rochester a couple of years ago and being told that some of the trees in tha park are some of the oldest trees in Western New York. I would love to see those trees in California one day. It would be so awesome to see the redwoods.

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