Death in the Kresge Quadrangle

[Updated Sept. 10, 2015]

In a post from last October, I noted that one of the European Beech trees in the Kresge Quadrangle was dying. This spring the tree (on the left, below) never leafed out. When this tree is taken down, as it eventually must be, we hope to obtain a section of the trunk to polish and display, with major events in the history of the University noted along its annual rings.

May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015

Update, June 11, 2015: The day before yesterday we had torrential rain. This morning, Pleurotus ostreatus is fruiting from the very same spot where it appeared last fall.

The white blotch on the bark above this fruiting is the remains of last year's mushrooms.

The white blotch on the bark above this fruiting is the remains of last year’s mushrooms.

June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015

Update: Sept. 10, 2015:

On August 11, the dead tree was removed. The event was documented on the Clark News Hub. With assistance from Physical Plant, we obtained a slice for transformation into a timeline (more on that project later). The photo below shows the remaining pair of beeches (and one oak). The beech tree at the back is also in trouble. The thin living layer of tissue below the bark is dying and the cortex of the tree, including the bark, is being sloughed off. When the entire circumference of the trunk has been decorticated (i.e., when the tree has been “girdled”), the tree will die. Also included are a images of a section of the trunk and a close-up of the cut surface of the wood. The dark lines in the close-up photo indicate the presence of a wood-decaying fungus. The patterns produced by wood-decay fungi are called spalting. Spalted wood is highly prized by wood carvers for the beautiful patterns it creates.