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Author Topic: Dead Standing Mystery Tree  (Read 1586 times)

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Offline High_Water

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Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« on: December 28, 2020, 09:59:32 AM »
Came across this snag in East TX, been dead a while from the looks of it, no leaves for ID help. Coloration is more orange than surrounding trees, hard to tell from the photos. Bonus pic of the nice little owl burrow. Fairly tall, around 20" dia. maybe. Sorry for the sideways pics, any ideas? I plan to cut it down and put it on the mill one of these days if its not too rotted, just got a pile to get through first.



 

 

 

Offline timberking

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2020, 12:42:50 PM »
Ossage orange

Offline sandhills

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2020, 02:13:36 PM »
Cottonwood is my guess? 
At least that's what's they look like up here?

Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2020, 03:37:22 PM »
I'd go with cottonwood, ossage orange doesn't rot that way.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2020, 04:33:59 PM »
Reminds me of how aspen rots, you get those polypore conks on the trunk anywhere a limb grew. So could be cottonwood.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2020, 05:04:42 PM »
not sure how close it is to people, but if you got some Kansas wind, it might break off.  so may want to take it down sooner, for safety sake.  I can see Cottonwood.
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Offline KEC

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2020, 08:53:55 PM »
Furrowed bark suggests ash. Cut it down (CAREFULLY) and post photos of log ends.

Offline WDH

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2020, 09:27:30 PM »
My vote is ash. 
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2020, 08:07:40 AM »
I can see Ash!   :D :D :D
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Offline WDH

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2020, 08:12:32 AM »
If it is not ash, I will buy someone a beverage. 
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2020, 08:39:21 AM »
I would like a beverage!   smiley_beertoast
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Offline WDH

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2020, 08:58:40 AM »
You have to go down to East Texas and acquire a close up piece of end grain sliced clean with a razor knife and the pore structure has be diffuse porous or semi diffuse porous (cottonwood) and not strongly ring porous (ash).  Should only take two days and one overnight stay in a hotel to get the info, and if it is cottonwood, I am sure that the value of the beverage will more than offset the cost of the trip :D
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Offline High_Water

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2020, 08:59:47 AM »
I've got a lot of cottonwoods down by the creek, this one is on top of a hill. I'm not familiar with ash but when I cut it down the smell should give it away if its cottonwood! Its not near anything so no worries about that. If ash do we have those beetles in East TX that are killing all the ash trees?

Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2020, 11:20:01 AM »
From Texas Standard: An invasive species of beetle, the emerald ash borer, has spread to Denton and Bowie Counties for the first time. The small, metallic-green insect lays its eggs in ash trees and its larvae bore through layers of bark.Jun 10, 2020
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Offline Southside

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2020, 12:15:23 PM »
Happy Birthday Danny!
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Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2020, 01:27:59 PM »
I don't have a clue what it is but it's not Ash. :snowball:

Offline Tacotodd

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2020, 04:27:04 PM »
If you cut it up for firewood and go to hand splitting it with an AXE and it splits surprisingly easy, its most likely Ash. If not, your quest for correct is still on. The only reason that I say is because I tried it a few times and it split so easily and it was light, that I thought it was rotten. And when you burn it green it pops like mad! But EXTREMELY worthy!

Full disclosure here. I can only readily ID about 5 trees. And had no experience with Ash, but my good friend did. So far hes tried to teach me but no dice. There is tomorrow....
Trying harder everyday.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2020, 04:58:43 PM »
Our ash bark is different up here. :)

Looks like it had a canker disease. Never seen cankers on ash up here. Got a woodlot full of'm.
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Offline KEC

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2020, 09:15:41 PM »
I hauled hardwood saw logs for a mill just South of Syracuse, NY for about 5 years. We hauled logs into the mill from a radius of around 100 miles, usually less. Within that area there was a variation of soil types, elevation and wet and dry places. Bark appearance varied within species depending on where the trees grew. If that tree isn't ash it bears a strong resemblence.

Offline timberking

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2020, 08:01:28 AM »
Sticking with horse apple

Offline High_Water

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2020, 09:00:49 AM »
Sticking with horse apple
That would be awesome. I've never seen on that big here but anything is possible, I suppose the sawdust color will give it away as soon as I start cutting.

Offline Magicman

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2020, 09:18:51 AM »
You said "no leaves", but what about limbs?  Ash will have it's opposite branching characteristic.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2020, 12:27:35 PM »
 popcorn_smiley
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Offline timberking

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2020, 03:09:35 PM »
Cut that puppy open.  Break a limb.  More info the world wants to know.  Reputations on the line.

Offline High_Water

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2020, 04:45:44 PM »
No limbs within reach, its been dead a while from the looks of it, or at least it died slowly enough for all the leaves to be long gone and almost all the limbs as well without the bark sloughing off. It was dead when I first came across it a year or so ago. I may get a chance to do some digging over new years, I'll post any new info so we can nail this sucker down.

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2020, 05:08:36 PM »
Doesn't have to be a closeup.  Zoom in with the sky as a background and take what pictures you can of the limbs.
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Offline Roxie

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2020, 06:45:59 AM »
Loving this discussion. My money is on WDH. 
Say when

Offline High_Water

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2021, 09:40:47 AM »
Not much left of branches as you can see, I managed to cut up a limb - The smell says not cottonwood, it was not quite citrus but kinda tangy and for some reason sassafras is the smell that comes to mind, but that's only because I cut one down one time and now all strong smelling trees remind me of that smell.  Limb sawdust was not orange, but it was just a limb so that may not be definitive, I made a cut at the base but the outer few inches of sapwood was pretty rotten that far down and I'm not quite ready to cut it all the way down. It's probably too far gone to even make good firewood but I was just curious since it looks like the only tree of that species on the property.



 

 

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2021, 11:06:37 AM »
Elm like?



ash

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Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2021, 12:32:19 PM »
Me now thinks persimmon

Offline timberking

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2021, 09:01:05 AM »
I am leaning towards persimmon now.  This is Merica and I can change my mind.  The first bark pics just looked like ossage orange in my yard.

Offline High_Water

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2021, 09:13:48 AM »
Google results for persimmon tree bark don't look right to me.

What does ash normally smell like, from the one place I've found it mentioned its described as unpleasant, and that is not how I would describe my tree, otherwise I would say ash for sure. The end grain matches closest the above picture of ash from what I can see zooming in on my phone, I'll have to sand a piece down to confirm.

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #32 on: January 05, 2021, 09:29:56 AM »
Ash does not smell spicey, but the end grain looks a lot like sassafras, not persimmon. Sassafras has aromatic odor.

In wood ID keys it comes down to sassafras and ash being close.
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Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2021, 10:58:05 AM »
The bark does not resemble persimmon at all but the wood sure does. The wood looks nothing like sassafras and neither does the bark. Sassafras has an orange cambium and tan colored wood.

The bark in the 1st picture somewhat resembles ash but it has way too much interlacing of the ridges and again the wood is not even close.



Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2021, 11:47:33 AM »
Is it possible you that you have a sassafras that grew around a persimmon?

Offline High_Water

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2021, 02:13:19 PM »
Is it possible you that you have a sassafras that grew around a persimmon?
I can't see that being the case. The tree is a lot larger than I remembered from my first post, I would say easily 2' dia at the base, and I don't think sassafras or persimmon get that big (maybe I'm wrong, that's just what I thought). The bark is pretty consistent all the way around and except for that little owl hole it doesn't have any weird growths or areas that suggest two trees merged.
I've never smelled osage orange wood, but I have smelled osage oranges and this didn't smell like that. I've got an osage down the way from it I may have to do a side by side smell comparison lol. I never saw the tree living for sure so don't discount rot resistant trees as suspects because this thing may have been dead for years. I was convinced ash until I read about ash's smell and now I'm not so sure, we may just have to wait until its all the way down and hope its not rotted all the way through.

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2021, 02:24:18 PM »
Ash wood when planed, the shavings smell different than maple, but not aromatic in any sense.
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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2021, 02:27:50 PM »
Those limbs sure remind me of an elm. Never seen ash grow major limbs off the side like that. It looks like a tree with a crown up high spread out very wide.
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Offline High_Water

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2021, 02:50:36 PM »
Those limbs sure remind me of an elm. Never seen ash grow major limbs off the side like that. It looks like a tree with a crown up high spread out very wide.
There is a good bit of elm around here as well, and this one doesn't exactly look the same but I know that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I didn't think elm was particularly aromatic either, or at least I've seen it describe as unpleasant - which this one I would not call unpleasant. There was another mystery tree up here that I concluded was elm that definitely didn't smell like this one, but of course I may have been wrong there too.

Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #39 on: January 05, 2021, 03:06:15 PM »
If you scrape/chop/peel a little bark off it will be burnt orange in color and have an aroma similar to root beer if it is sassafras.

I have seen sassafras hit 36 DBH. Rare but happens.

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #40 on: January 05, 2021, 03:42:29 PM »
No, elm is more like the smell of horse urine. :D
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Offline High_Water

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #41 on: January 05, 2021, 03:57:47 PM »
If you scrape/chop/peel a little bark off it will be burnt orange in color and have an aroma similar to root beer if it is sassafras.

I have seen sassafras hit 36 DBH. Rare but happens.
I cut a couple inches in with a saw but didn't scrape the bark back, but the outer few inches of sapwood was fairly rotted where I was messing around at the base. I can't recall from memory the exact smell but root beer didn't come to mind at the time, I just know it was fairly aromatic and not unpleasant, sorry I'm not good with smells. I can say for sure it wasn't cottonwood swamp/sewer water, and definitely not horse urine-ish either.

Offline KEC

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #42 on: January 05, 2021, 10:10:09 PM »
I think the fact that it has been dead for some time is going to change the way it smells. Fresh ash is not unpleasant, maybe could be described as a nutty smell. I can still remember many years ago my father drilling holes in fresh sawn ash to make holes to put bolts through to make wagon  beds. 

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #43 on: January 06, 2021, 05:41:44 AM »
All told, every species of wood smells different. If you saw and plane a wide variety of wood, it is engrained in your sniffer cells. And it smells different when it ferments and spoils to. Rock maple will smell like cow poo by the time it is seasoned for firewood. ;D Nice smelly white pine fresh, will turn to a distasteful mould smell when it turns to denim pine. :D

For us in North America, end grain is more definitive than finger prints. ;D Finger printing is not as reliable as you think. Many scientists have knocked it down and some judges.
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Offline aigheadish

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #44 on: January 06, 2021, 07:38:49 AM »
All y'all are infinitely more knowledgeable than I on this kind of stuff, but my immediate thought, with the thick bark was black walnut... 

I don't know what the difference is between Texas Ash and Ohio Ash but my Ash doesn't look anything like this at all. The bark on my years dead ash trees likes to flake off in relatively big chunks and as someone else said the branching doesn't seem right. Also, on the Osage Orange tip, am I to understand there is Osage Orange that stands up straight? We have a fair amount of it around here and it all seems to get to about 8 feet high then stretch mostly horizontally. 
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Offline KEC

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2021, 07:01:25 PM »
Speaking for myself, I have stopped short of saying that it is ash. Bark resembles ash. And, again, long dead wood smells much different from fresh. I'm anxious to hear the final verdict.

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #46 on: January 07, 2021, 11:24:40 AM »
Any answers are mostly guesses with the info given. Looks like the tree has had a very challenging life which makes things like bark pattern not all that definitive. If the inside wasn't so hollowed out osage would be a good guess but then again the inside may have burned out rather than rotted. It's irregular shape is typical for the osage oranges I see. The cut off limb looks considerably like a cut off piece of dead osage might look.

Also the wood is very remindful of dead persimmon but no way for the bark, or at least how the bark looks in my world. That's one of the suckers deals about bark, it can vary a great deal in appearance from location to location or even site differences.  Persimmon is a rot fast species and sometimes it will hollow out similar to the pic but otherwise no bueno for a match.

So I'm not guessing but if I were there I'd want to take a few whacks at it with a sharp axe, through the sap wood and expect some definitive evidence to emerge. Also it might be definitive to id the fungus growth, some are specific to what thay will grow on.

As for the fire wood aspect if it is osage orange there will still be some rocket fuel there. 

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #47 on: January 07, 2021, 01:17:26 PM »
Has anyone thought to just ask the tree what it identifies as?  Might claim it's a SYP.   :D
Franklin buncher and skidder
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Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
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White Oak Meadows

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #48 on: January 07, 2021, 01:23:45 PM »
Yeah, but it's fun to guess. I'm sure a lot of us have educated guesses, even if they are wrong. :D
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

Offline Tacotodd

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #49 on: January 07, 2021, 02:53:17 PM »
SS, if they only COULD speak. But do you really want trees to talk! Think of what they could tell about us, as individual persons. There goes MY 5th amendment rights. 🤪
Trying harder everyday.

Offline Southside

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Re: Dead Standing Mystery Tree
« Reply #50 on: January 07, 2021, 09:12:23 PM »
So are you saying Tree Squeaks are not real?  :D
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows


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