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editor: I'm collecting images of trees and the things they "eat." Maybe you've noticed a tree in your area that has devoured something in its growth path. If you have, please contact me.

Hugh Karraker

Redding. Connecticut


editor: Some years ago I remember reading in American Forests about the huge live oak in Magnolia Springs, Alabama, that had been girdled by an irate person over property rights. I visited it during the time foresters were attempting to save it by grafting saplings over the wound. Maybe it would be nice to update readers now.

Leonard Staff Jr.

Tempe, AZ

Editor responds: The Inspiration Oak got its name in 1990 when someone girdled the massive, 500-year-old live oak with a chain saw. The vandal cut a four-inch-deep gash all the way around the trunk--27 feet in circumference. People believed, but never proved, that the vandalism was an act of retaliation against the county. Before the incident, local residents had been trying to buy the tree and the property it grew on for a county park.

The perpetrator was never identified. But, as American Forests reported in its March/April 1991 issue, Stan Revis, a forester, stepped forward to try to save the tree by making grafts to cover its wound. And Stanwood Foote, a local resident, started a committee that raised about $30,000 to finally buy the tree for the county and to try to save it--setting up a pump house and a heating system to keep the injured tree watered and warm. Thousands of people visited to see the specimen.

The tree died a few years after the injury, but the county left it standing. Folks like Foote still went to visit. But on January 1, the county closed the park that had featured the tree as its centerpiece. Officials worried that the dead branches--some of them 180 feet long--would drop and injure someone. A fence keeps people out, but you can still see the massive shell of the tree, and imagine its beauty, from the road.


Dear AMERICAN FORESTS: Thank you for dedicating your lives to planting trees to make the world a little greener. Trees are one of the most useful elements in nature. They give us oxygen to breathe, wood for the fireplace, wood for making houses, wood for making furniture, shade from the hot sun, fruits to eat, nuts for chipmunks and squirrels, and most commonly, paper.

Without trees, Columbus would never have discovered America because he would not have had any boats to sail on. Without trees, Beethoven could not have composed a single symphony because he wouldn't have had any paper. Our sixth grade classroom at Portola Hills Elementary is sending you $75.50. Please use it to plant more trees in the forest.

Chelsea Vyhmeister and Miss

Amerman's class

Trabuco Canyon, California
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Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 22, 2001
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