catalpa trees won’t give up

some catalpa trees that just won’t quit. Blown over in a storm last fall/winter, hauled away & piled up in my woodpile…hollow, rotten, – but look – new trees growing from them. Even blossoms. amazing. I was going to cut them up, but maybe I should leave things as is.





15 thoughts on “catalpa trees won’t give up

  1. peter
    Catalpa is interesting. It will not rot anytime soon. I use it for outdoor stools etc. I have 20 year old stool out in yard. The growing tree becomes hollow. Baltimore’s wonderfulD ruid Hill Park was full of thm. Back in the depresion I remember Hobos sleeping in the hollows of large Catalpa. I would love to know what is going on. How is the hollow is made.

    • The reason for the hollowing of a tree is when the living cells of the sapwood turn off and become heartwood they build up chemicals called extractives that are resistant to bugs and rot. This passive defense against bugs and rot lasts after the tree is cut. The living sapwood of the tree however depends on active biological resistance a process it loses when cut. Insects and decay that can overcome the passive resistance of the living sapwood can completely hollow a tree without killing it. This explains the little saplings coming from what seemingly is a dead tree.

  2. I once cut a small White Birch for spoons and left the log laying on the ground on leaf duff as I slowly sectioned it and carved it over a few months. The log began to take root and shoots came up out of the top, just as in your photos.

  3. We all know that the outer part of the tree is the live wood and the core or center is dead. It’s main purpose while standing is to keep the tree upright while life travels up and down the tree just under the bark.

    Many a time I have cut branches to use in the garden and ended up with rooted live trees.

    I have a Walnut log doing the same thing… I would share a pic if I knew how.

  4. I had an ash tree do this. I cut off a plain sawn side from a log that was off a half fallen tree. It layed bark side up on the ground through the winter and started sprouting this spring. I couldn’t believe it.

  5. This summer, on a church mission trip, we cut down a (sorta) dead catalpa. Most of the branches were dead but it had green leaf sprouts coming out of a crack in the trunk running from base to the top of the trunk. When we cut it down, it was hollow except for a HUGE bee hive. But that was a tough old tree. 80+ years.

  6. Dont ya wish more people would replant…..oaks ! or walnuts ! or ash!

    Think about all those broad suburban and rural yards where the owner spends 2 hours on his mower and a beer trying to cut it all….when they could grow trees…help the planet, better the local air, invest in future lumber…….what a revelation!

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  8. Some corrections needed here. First how do the shoots grow from the cut logs. Most deciduous trees have dormant buds under the bark and many can make new buds when cut. These start to grow when released from the hormones (auxins) that travel down the trunk from the growth buds in the crown where they are made.’
    2nd cut in the dormant time of the year the sap and water reserves will enable new growth for sometime but don’t try it in the heat of summer.
    3rd for some trees the auxins that suppress the buds when the tree is standing sink to the bottom of the log and trigger the growth of roots from the previously undifferentiated cambium cells under the bark. Willow is a doozy for this I’ve had them succeed (big logs) after two years when they finally get favourable conditions.
    4th the tree is hollow because although the heartwood is normally decay resistant there are a special group of fungi called heart rots. These enter the tree when heart wood is exposed, for example when a branch breaks out. This is why old trees are hollow and may have no heartwood at ground level. The coolest I’ve ever seen are the Tingle forests of south west Australia around Nornalup

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