The Oak cross section above was taken while my husband was cutting wood for our heating needs this winter.  Our indoor furnace uses oil but we all know the price of that to heat a home.  For the last ten years we have been using primarily wood for our heating needs.  We use an outdoor wood stove which uses water pipes to carry the heat from the stove to our home.  We had an addition put on our century home in 2004 and had hot water pipes embedded in the concrete floor of the basement.  Talk about a warm room in the winter!

Ontario, Canada winters get cold.  It can get to -20 degrees Celcius in January and February.  It takes a lot of wood to get us through a cold windy winter.  With thirty acres of primarily hardwood forest, we have quite a bit of potential fuel.  We do not, however, like to cut live trees if we can help it.  In any one year, older trees die, some are hit by lightening and die.  They provide a great deal of our yearly wood.  Some weaker trees are blown down during bigger storms and they tend to provide the rest.  Once in a while my husband will find two trees growing so closely together that they are hampering each other’s growth.  He will sacrifice one so the other has a better chance of growing strong and healthy. In most cases, those are the only live trees we use for firewood.  In the case of the photo above, this oak fit into one of the first categories.  It was hit by lightening and fell during a summer storm.

From the diameter of the trunk it is obvious this tree is quite old.  Do you know how to tell the age of a tree?   Check out this HubPages article I wrote about determining the age of trees.  Counting rings is a popular method but there are others.  Other methods come in handy if you want to find out the age of a live tree!  However, as this tree was cut, the cross section shows the rings beautifully.  Counting the rings from the center outward is an accurate method of telling the age of the tree.  If you look closely at the rings you will notice that some are very close together while others are spaced farther apart.  Thicker gaps between rings indicate years of good weather – plentiful rain and warmer temperatures.  Thinner gaps between rings indicate the opposite – hard winters, low rainfall and too cool or too hot temperatures.  Scientists can examine tree rings to get an idea of weather patterns over hundreds of years in some cases.

[stextbox id=”special” caption=”Examine the Tree Rings” bwidth=”10″ color=”FF964A” ccolor=”6E563E” bcolor=”FF964A” cbgcolor=”FFCD78″]Take a close look at the feature photo.  What can you guess about the weather in my neck of the woods over the last 5 to 10 decades?  Count the tree rings in the photo above.  What is the age of this tree based on its tree rings?  Leave your answers in the comment section below![/stextbox]


This photo is part of the Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Macro. View other entries in this challenge:

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