Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Birches

White Birch limbs and branches are dropping as the trees grow weary from warm weather. The white color of the bark helps reflect heat much the way light-colored clothing helps us humans manage temperatures while the lenticels, small dark horizontal slits, act to ventilate the inner tree. But there's only so much temperature control possible in a tree, and the White Birches are beginning to show the stress by dropping branches and dying from decay.

White Birch has historically been used for birch bark canoes made by Native Americans, but the white man has depicted the waterproof craft inside out. The tawny inner bark is the part that has a waxy coating that keeps water from seeping through - the loose outer white bark has no such quality and is more easily water-logged which is an important consideration if anyone decides to build such a canoe.

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