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Strange wavy growth lines on red oak

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Forum topic by SycSlim posted 10-02-2018 10:12 AM 1233 views 0 times favorited 46 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SycSlim

22 posts in 72 days


10-02-2018 10:12 AM

I came across a red oak tree that had recently been cut by a road crew. It had strange “growth rings” that were very wavy. The large pores form normal concentric rings, but there are dark lines associated with them that wander off the path and even cross other growth rings.


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Cricket

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#1 posted 10-02-2018 10:13 AM

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SycSlim

22 posts in 72 days


#2 posted 10-02-2018 11:46 AM

Here are some strange growth lines I found on a red oak that had just been cut. Has anyone seen this before? Do you know what causes it? Is it valuable enough to save? Thanks!

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SycSlim

22 posts in 72 days


#3 posted 10-02-2018 12:12 PM

Here are some strange growth lines I found on a red oak that had just been cut. Has anyone seen this before? Do you know what causes it? Is it valuable enough to save?

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SycSlim

22 posts in 72 days


#4 posted 10-02-2018 12:25 PM

Sorry for the repeats. I can’t seem to figure out out to delete the extras. I go to edit, delete all that I put in, and hit “Save Changes”, but it’s all still still. What am I supposed to do?

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Lazyman

2629 posts in 1588 days


#5 posted 10-02-2018 12:31 PM

That is bizarre. Not sure what is causing that but I do not think that those are actually the growth rings. It looks to me that you can actually see the much fainter concentric rings there too with the odd lines crossing the growth rings (just noticed you pointed that out in one of the pictures). An extreme close up of the the lines might help.

Can you tell if the tree was already dead before it was cut? Anything unusual about where it was growing (surrounded by asphalt for example)?

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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SycSlim

22 posts in 72 days


#6 posted 10-02-2018 01:22 PM

It was dying, which is why the street crew took it down, but it still had some green leaves (which is why I know it was a red oak). I just took another photo of the tree location so that you can see what was around it. The road is 14 ft away from it. Nothing unusual near it on the other sides.

I’ve also enlarged the sand surface photo above. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has not come across this before. Still I’m betting someone out there has at least seen the phenomenon. It could make for some interesting, if not beautiful, furniture – small table tops perhaps.

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JayT

5960 posts in 2411 days


#7 posted 10-02-2018 01:36 PM

Never seen it before, either. Interesting that it doesn’t follow the bands of large pores, which appear to be pretty concentric in the last pic. Whatever the casue, that could make for some amazing figure in projects and turnings.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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Lazyman

2629 posts in 1588 days


#8 posted 10-02-2018 02:38 PM

It’s got me stumped. It doesn’t seem to follow any of the normal structures in the wood (rays or ring pores). They do sort of circle the center but cross ring boundaries. There are also none in the recent sapwood so it doesn’t seem to affect the living tissue of the tree (only the sapwood and outward of a tree is generally alive). It doesn’t look like any fungus I’ve ever seen either. Do all of the chunks show this pattern?

This picture sort of looks like there is some sort of substance in those inclusions.

You might just smell them to make sure that it doesn’t have some weird chemical smell or an oily texture that might be a problem.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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SycSlim

22 posts in 72 days


#9 posted 10-02-2018 03:25 PM

Response from poster: “Got me stumped” – good pun Lazyman and also a good suggestion to smell it. I took a whiff of a handful of the shavings – smelled a lot like fresh cut red oak to me. But women can smell better than men, so I asked my wife to try. She said it smelled like gasoline and 2-cycle oil with an essence of chain bar lubricant! But seriously, neither she nor I could smell anything unusual. A guy at my local sawmill asked if it were in a place where it got regular fertilizer. He thought some components of the fertilizer might be taken up and then leaching irregularly into the surrounding wood. I ran this by a friend of mine who is a botanist (but not a forester). He said he thought that unlikely “for reasons that are a bit long to explain”. However, if we all keep striking out, I’ll ask him for the explanation. Also good point about the sap wood, that seems bizarre to me. In answer to the question about “do all the chunks follow this pattern” – only in the lower part of the tree. You can see in an earlier photo that the limbs don’t show it. Good suggestion to show close up. Here it is. I can go closer if someone would like

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Lazyman

2629 posts in 1588 days


#10 posted 10-02-2018 03:53 PM

Hah, I wish I were clever enough to realize I was making a pun.

If it was caused by recent uptake of something from the soil, it would also be in the sapwood as that is the part of the tree that is still actively transporting water and nutrients up the tree. The heartwood typically does not transport once it is dead. My last theory is that this could just be an odd way that the heartwood is concentrating the tannins and other minerals that cause it to darken naturally.

The only other thing I can think of is to peel some bark off and make sure that there are not any fungal mats that could indicate a disease such oak wilt that you would not want to risk spreading to your own trees, though I have never seen this as a symptom of that. You didn’t say where you live but if it is Texas that could be a possibility, especially since it was dying.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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HokieKen

7101 posts in 1339 days


#11 posted 10-02-2018 03:56 PM

Couldn’t this just be some sort of spalting? Agreed, it’s more structured than spalting normally is but it being present only in the lower portion of the tree and only in the dead areas lead me to believe it’s some sort of fungus. A unique one!

Does it present as spalting on end/long grain faces?

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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SycSlim

22 posts in 72 days


#12 posted 10-02-2018 03:59 PM

Response from poster: “Got me stumped” – good pun Lazyman and also a good suggestion to smell it. I took a whiff of a handful of the shavings – smelled a lot like fresh cut red oak to me. But women can smell better than me, so I asked my wife to try. She said it smelled like gasoline and 2-cycle oil with an essence of chain bar lubricant! But seriously, neither she nor could smell anything unusual. A guy at my local sawmill asked if it were in a place where it got regular fertilizer. He thought some components of the fertilizer might be taken up and then leaching irregularly into the surrounding wood. I ran this by a friend of mine who is a botanist (but not a forester). He said he thought that unlikely “for reasons that are a bit long to explain”. However, if we all keep striking out, I’ll ask him for the explanation. Also good point about the sap wood, that seems bizarre to me. In answer to the question about “do all the chunks follow this pattern” – only in the lower part of the tree. You can see in an earlier photo that the limbs don’t show it. Good suggestion to show close up. Here it is. I can go closer if someone would like

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SycSlim

22 posts in 72 days


#13 posted 10-02-2018 04:36 PM

Lazyman – I agree. The fact that it is not in the sap wood is a real mystery to me. On the other hand, for the experts that is surely an important diagnostic characteristic.
Hoskieken: Spalting on the very inside of a freshly cut (freshly, as in immediately after x- cutting the log) with no obvious diseased areas nearby or anywhere on the log
outside or inside seems unlikely to me, but then I’m no expert.

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lumbering_on

574 posts in 690 days


#14 posted 10-02-2018 04:36 PM

I’d like to see how far it goes up the trunk. Fungus or mold was my first guess, but since this is a city tree, it could also be that it’s something the tree grew around. It’s not common, but it does happen.

https://steemit.com/trees/@emmamartinme/trees-grow-around-objects

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JCamp

877 posts in 751 days


#15 posted 10-02-2018 04:47 PM

Depending on where u live mayb it could b from a chemical that they treat the roads with or mayb some type of odd fertilizer or spray that’s been put around it. Those r just guesses. Either way I’d grab it up and take it to a sawmill to hav it cut into boards. Would make a sexy looking fireplace mantle

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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