bending branches question for Lee   Brandon Gallagher
  May 02, 2007 16:11 PDT 

You were a guest lecturer in an Eric Zenner (or Rebecca
Montgomery...can't remember which) class I had a few years ago and you
talked about being able to estimate the age of a tree based on the
amount of bend in their branches from years of snow pressure. You were
showing slides of white pines from the BWCA that were estimated to be x
centuries old going by how bent the limbs were. Any chance you've ever
put together a visual guide for this on pines?

The reason I inquire is my passion other than big trees is small trees,
as in bonsai. Ever since hearing that from you I've been thinking about
writing an article for the magazine put out by the Am. Bonsai Society on
designing pines of specific age classes by how bent the branches are.
See, in bonsai one "artificially" adds the appearance of age by bending
branches to appear older than they are and it would be great to have a
guide that says "a tree bent this much appears to 80, a tree bent this
much appears to 350." This could help bonsai artists to create "aged to
scale" branches to complement an aged trunk. It happens often in bonsai
where someone will style the branches in a fashion that looks like a
tree 400 years old but the trunk only feels 20 years old resulting in a
tree that feels unharmonious. Have guidelines for age-induced branch
bending based on trees in the wild would be fantastic and would make for
an interesting read for big and small tree fans alike.

Any chance you've ever published or put something like that together?


Brandon Gallagher Watson
Plant Healthcare Specialist
ISA Certified Arborist MN-4086A

Rainbow Treecare Scientific Advancements
2239 Edgewood Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55426

Re: bending branch question for Lee   Lee E. Frelich
  May 03, 2007 18:37 PDT 


Sorry, but I don't have a pictorial guide for pine tree age, only personal
observations from many different field studies.

RE: bending branch question for Lee -Back to Lee   Brandon Gallagher
  May 04, 2007 13:26 PDT 

Thanks for getting back to me, Lee. I am going to Rainy Lake (Canadian side) over Memorial Day weekend. I am going to be taking photos of pines of various age classes to attempt to construct a simple visual guide for this concept. Perhaps I could use your expertise to review it before it is finalized? It may be of interest to other ENTS as well (always good to see a little bonsai chatter!).

I am also going to be measuring the largest white pine I've ever seen up at Rainy Lake. It is on the island our cabin is on and it is huge! It must be close to 50" DBH and is deep in a very dense, VERY mosquito-y spot on the island where no other white pines are. It will be a pain to measure height as the maples, alder, and cedars are incredibly thick but not as thick as the mosquitoes will be...

Brandon Gallagher Watson
Plant Healthcare Specialist