General Sherman

One of my favorite areas of study in college was Dendrology, which is the study of trees.  Trees are just cool. They are absolutely mammoth plants with an extremely delicate infrastructure.  There will be an article on my favorite tree in the future, you can bet on that, but for now I am just going to talk about how trees come to be.  Take for instance, the tree pictured at the start of the article, General Sherman.  General Sherman is a giant sequoia, (Sequoiadendron giganteum) tree.  This bad boy is over 275 feet tall, which is 20 feet short of the entire height of the Statue of Liberty in NY. General Sherman weighs over 6100 tons, and is 36.5 feet wide at the bottom, which, coincidentally, is larger than my meager apartment.  How did this tree get to be so big? Time, is the real answer.  General  Sherman is estimated to be over 2300 years old.  Think about that for a second.  This tree was around before christianity even existed.  This tree started its growth before the world was considered round, heck the civilized world didn’t even know that the Americas even existed at that point.  This tree has seen everything from ancient history to world wars, to civil wars, and it has still weathered on.  One of the often overlooked facts about trees is how they grow, and what makes them grow to be so big.  General Sherman, which weighs 6100 tons, is made almost entirely up of air. (more…)