On our last trip to Roundrock (and it seems so long ago now), we took a chilly hike to the other side of the lake and wound up at Libby’s reading chair among the old oaks there. The dogs weren’t interested in reading and we didn’t stay long, but I did have a look up and saw the top of this mighty oak that rises before Libby’s chair.
Sometime in recent years the top broke from this tree and crashed to the ground. It happens in the forest all the time, and I’d guess this oak has been standing for more than a hundred years. Likely the inside was hollow from rot and the excavation of birds for nest sites.
But what I wasn’t expecting to see, and what I probably would not have been able to see in the spring, summer, or fall, were the vertical branches that had sprouted from the tree once the canopy was open. With all of the sunlight suddenly available, these branches clearly exploited the opportunity and grew quickly upward.
I’m not sure how long ago the top fell from this oak, but I think it must have been within the last couple of years. Certainly I don’t remember the broken branches on the forest floor when we carried the chair over there. And that’s only been three years at most. So those vertical branches you see in the photo above have been growing vigorously in that time to get as big as they are.