Are You Stumped?

Forests have many mysteries to solve and here is one. This White Birch is standing on its roots.  Did a flood wash away the soil?  Did the tree push out of the soil as it grew?  Neither!  A birch’s tiny wind-blown seed landed on a rotting stump or log. After the seed sprouted, its roots grew down through the wood, eventually reaching the soil beneath.

As the tree aged, its roots grew thicker, and the log or stump decomposed completely, resulting in this “perched birch.”  Eastern Hemlocks and Yellow Birches often start off life this way too.