Woodshed Wonder 02: Decay Sets In

The woodshed is plentiful with specimens this week, and has given us another woodshed wonder. We found another poplar with an old pruning cut, but this story didn’t end as successfully for this tree.

A closer inspection tells us that after this tree was cut, decay set in before the tree could contain it.

A decaying log of poplar.

As established by the “Father of Modern Aboriculture,” Alex Shigo, trees don’t heal. When trees are injured, they react by compartmentalizing. Trees make physical and chemical changes to make walls between its systems and harmful micro-organisms. This is also known as Compartmentalization of Decay in Trees (CODIT). We can see one of those walls on this poplar, it’s the strong dark wood that forms over a wound. We can also see the very branch that was given the axe!

A close up of decaying poplar.

We can also tell that decay made its way into this tree despite its compartmentalizing. Some species of trees are better at it than others. Poplars are not great at compartmentalizing, and are prone to decay-related tree failure.

Find any woodshed wonders in your stockpile this winter? Send a photo and we may dissect them for you, Shigo-style!