Sunday, December 03, 2006

Trees In The News

Below is an excerpt from an article appearing in the Home and Garden section of today's The Post and Courier:

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 03, 2006 8:01 AM

The Post and Courier

Lowcountry residents love their trees.
It's quite obvious from the response The Post and Courier received earlier this fall when we sought nominations for "terrific trees of the Lowcountry."
The outpouring was overwhelming. Dozens of letters, e-mails and pictures came in for weeks.
The notes often spoke of favorite trees as if they were family.
In many ways, they are. What would our community be like without the sprawling, moss-draped live oaks, towering bald cypresses and pines, and flowering accents of dogwoods and crape myrtles?
The South Carolina coast, despite being strafed by hurricanes and tropical storms on a regular basis, has some majestic trees.

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Swamp giants
While live oaks are found in many visible locations from parks and yards to roadsides and shopping centers, another of the South's great trees is more often found in less accessible swamps.
One of the best local places to see the "Angel Oaks" of the bald cypress species is Francis Beidler Forest near Harleyville.
"We have a couple of beautiful ancient bald cypress trees visible from the boardwalk at the Francis Beidler Forest," says Mike Dawson, director of the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler, which protects one of the largest tracts of virgin, old growth forests in the Southeast.
"They are not record-breakers, as our nutrient conditions in the swamp are pretty poor," he says. "They are, however, in the neighborhood of 1,000 years old and still pretty impressive."
The center's education director, Mark Musselman, cleared up one myth about bald cypress, which is a relative of the West's giant redwood trees and is considered a deciduous conifer.
"Cypress do not prefer water," says Musselman. "As one views the ancient cypress standing on their flooded trunks, that statement may seem ridiculous. But plants do not like or dislike where they are: They simply live wherever they are able to survive.
"As in most plant communities, the swamp forest is highly competitive. Such essentials as sunlight, nutrients and root space are in limited supply. Those plants best able to find and use the essentials will thrive. Others will not."
While former Lowcountry resident John Stamp didn't submit a massive cypress as one of his favorite trees, he did offer up one that is in the middle of a large pond at Audubon Swamp.

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This article was printed via the web on 12/3/2006 12:06:34 PM . This articleappeared in The Post and Courier and updated online at on Sunday, December 03, 2006.

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