Today I’m giving away “book-ends”–the first e-book in my contemporary, inspirational ranch series, Hearts Crossing Ranch, as well as the latest, book seven, Seeing Daylight~so please leave a comment after you endure my lecture on Aspen Trees!
You see, Seeing Daylight takes place in autumn in Colorado, and last fall, Hubs and I witnessed the aspen trees in all their fiery glory, mostly yellow and gold, occasionally red. I still get goosebumps.
Aspen are found throughout North America, from New England to Alaska, even down into California and Arizona. But the best, the most, and brightest are found in Colorado and Utah. (Aspen, Colorado was named that for a reason!)
Petiole–the stalk attaching the leaf to the stem–are long and flat, giving the leaves the chance to flutter or “quake” in the slightest breeze. Depending on their location, aspen endure temperatures as low as -78 F, and as high as 110 F. While they prefer moist soil, they can grow in desert climes that get a half a foot of rain a year. Their absolutely only requirement for survival is abundant sunlight.
With white bark and black scars, the aspen is often confused with the birch. However, birch bark easily peels like paper and aspen bark does not. And…an aspen isn’t really one tree at all.
A stand of aspen is actually one huge organism, a large system–up to twenty acres–of underground roots. When there is finally enough sunlight, roots sprout up into the famed white trunks which eventually shoot off leaves.
This is called vegetative, or asexual, reproduction. These root systems are called “clones” and can live for thousands of of years. The oldest known clone at 80,000 years old is the “Pando” north of Bryce Canyon in central Utah. Five-to-ten thousand year old clones are more common,
Aspen are unique in another way…beneath that lovely white back is an inner green layer necessary for photosynthesis. Making sugars keeps the aspen growing all through the winter when other trees go dormant.
This green layer also becomes survival food for deer and elk when winters are long.
In the fall, the trees of each aspen “clone” structure will have the same color turning from green to gold or red at the same time.
The intensive root systems appear immune to plant diseases. The aspen is not endangered and never will be. Even dormant root systems come back to life…especially after a forest fire clears out other growth and brings back the sun.
The only natural enemy of the aspen are pocket gophers who, in abundance, can gnaw through root systems. But chopped up roots can still grow.
The aspen turn gold earlier in the mountains than say, Denver, and we sure timed it right during our vacation in Vail.
(view from our condo…pretty swell!)
Have you ever seen aspen? Did you find any interesting facts today? Please leave a comment to win either kindle or PDF copies of my “book-end” books.
…a beautiful attorney widowed by a foolhardy man…a successful builder vanquishing guilt over his wife’s death. Can they rebuild faith and find love enough to give each other and their kids a happy home together?
….Sixteen months since the foolish death of her husband, attorney Rachel Martin aches to move on as much as she fears the future. Cutting back on her practice and moving back to her childhood ranch means her three-year old son has all the attention he needs. Finding love again is the last thing on her mind…until she meets Brayton Metcalf.
After ten year’s of self-blame for his wife’s death in a plane crash, successful businessman Brayton Metcalf is instantly drawn to Rachel when he brings his his daughter to Hearts Crossing Ranch for therapy riding lessons. But Rachel backs off at his impetuous personality. He whittles away at her doubts…until he jumps head-fist into a business decision that will affect her family. Rachel, her trust in Brayton endangered, turns to trusting in God. Can the couple’s shared grief and guilt permit them to see daylight once again?