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IN BRIEF / SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK

Beleaguered ancient tree showing new signs of life

September 25, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A giant sequoia thought to be more than 2,900 years old has sprouted new shoots and branches in what park rangers are calling a landmark recovery for a tree predicted to die from rot and fire damage.

The Washington tree, which measures more than 100 feet in circumference at its base, is touted as the world's second-largest living tree, eclipsed only by the neighboring Gen. Sherman tree.

In October 2003, a fire destroyed much of the Washington tree's crown, and a storm in January 2005 blew more than 110 feet off its top, reducing the giant to a 115-foot-tall trunk.

At the time, an old-growth forest expert said that storm damage and a fire scar burned deep into its heartwood would destroy the sequoia. But rangers said Sunday that the new sprouts and branches would give the tree hundreds of years more life.

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