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Old Today, 01:09 PM
 
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i've often wondered about trees growing in really unlikely, harsh environments like cliff faces. turns out they've been studied.
Quote:
The side of a cliff face, Larson explained, is a terrible place to grow. The trees struggle for nutrition. Their root systems can’t spread out and take hold. The water they do get comes from drips, not the great rainwater gulps an oak tree takes from the soil.

These cliff-dwelling trees “never do have a good year,” Larson said. “All the years are equally bad.” To measure their age, he used a ¼-inch drilling device, a biopsy needle for trees, to take a core sample small enough that it wouldn’t hurt the tree. He aimed the drill through plastic straws he took from McDonald’s.

In the lab, Larson and his assistants sanded the samples down using ultra-fine sandpaper and scrutinized them with high-powered microscopes. They counted the rings. Some rings, he said, were literally two cells wide. Some years the trees didn’t produce any rings.
The oldest known tree in Wisconsin is a 1,300-year-old cedar growing from a cliff
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