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5 Interesting Facts About Sequoia Trees

In: My Life Outside of Work

1. Sequoias are the world’s largest trees based on the volume of wood in the trunk. Their huge size results from rapid growth through a long life. Some sequoias live more than 3,000 years.

2. Sequoias grow a ring of wood every year. Each ring holds clues about Earth’s past climate. Droughts and cold summers cause narrow or missing rings; wet years cause wide rings.

3. In fires, thick bark without much flammable sap protects sequoias from fire’s heat. In cold temperatures, chemicals in sequoias leaves resist damage from freezing. In deep snow, the pointy, conical shape of young sequoias sheds snow that could weigh them down.

4. The Sequoia trees are big and old because chemical tannins in bark and wood resist disease, rot and insects. Thick fibrous bark provides superior insulation against fire. With little flammable sap, it doesn’t burn easily. Extensive roots reach far for water.

5. Determining the age of large, living sequoia is hard. Coring techniques used on smaller trees would create big holes in the trunk if drilled to the middle of a huge sequoia. Instead, scientists measure just the other rings. then they apply mathematical formulas based on old stumps, whose rings could actually be counted. Using this method, scientists estimate that the largest sequoias in the area between 1,800 and 3,000 years old. Earlier, less accurate estimates put them at 6,000 years old. The world’s oldest known tree, the small bristcone, has lived over 4,700 years.

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