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PlaywrightPLM

Heartwood/Heart-rot/Native Scottish Trees

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Hello,

 

I am brand new to this forum and know very little about trees - or nature!

 

I am a playwright researching heartwood and heart-rot, specifically in trees found in Scotland, where my play is set. This is my sixth play.

 

I would be most grateful if anyone could help answer some questions to ensure I get my facts right and do all tree-lovers proud with this play; I've found this process a fascinating one with the research I have done so far and value any tips or support you good people can offer.

 

Hope to hear from you! Paul L Martin

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Plenty of people here to answer your questions! Maybe your research will be the start of a deeper understanding and appreciation of nature...

Scots pine is host to Phaeoleus schweinitzii and Sparissis crispa.

Oak is heart rotted by Fistulina hepatica, Leatiporous sulphureus, Innonotus dryadeus and more.

Beech by Ganoderma pfeifferi and others.

I don't know how frequent these are in Scotland as I live in Essex, but that will hopefully get you started. Out of interest what relevance do these have to the play, or would that be telling!

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The heartwood process is viewed with horror by some engineer wannabees who treat the tree like a pipe (tho it is not), and drill it to see how hollow, and practice numerology to see how scary it is. :blushing:

 

The calmer view is; heartrot is Nature's weight-loss regimen. It increases flexibility and durability, sustainability and survival.

 

Buttrot's a similar but slightly sadder story. :listen:

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thanks for the responses , Sloth and treeseer

 

I can't say too much re the plot but the trees are both metaphorical and part of the plays setting.

 

The first things I really need to do is make sure that the tree species I am referring to:

 

1. Can possibly/probably grown in the highlands of Scotland

2. Grow closely alongside one another

3. Would suffer from heartwood and, in one case, heart-rot.

 

At the moment I'm using the tree species black locust, mulberry, hickory, hackbush and ash....

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Of the species you mention, only ash is native. Mulberry might grow, but is pretty rare (certainly wouldn't find it wild). The others are US species.

 

If you want good Scottish species, I would suggest substituting rowan for mulberry, oak for black locust and blackthorn for hackbush. Hickory, maybe replace with birch or alder?

 

The above could all be found growing close to one another, particularly near the valley floor.

 

Heartwood isn't a disease or fungal attack - it's the natural way trees grow, so they don't 'suffer' from it. Only the outer part of the tree's structure is active, carrying sap (sapwood). As the tree ages the inner part of the tree stops functioning to carry sap and the wood structure converts to heartwood. Heart rot is literally when the heartwood rots, which can happen to any species. It doesn't kill the tree in itself as it's only the inactive heartwood which is attacked, however depending on other loading on the tree it can make it more easily damaged by strong winds.

 

Alec

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Alec, thank you that's really fantastically helpful!

 

Presumably all the trees you suggest can form heartwood? I think I read somewhere that some species don't...? It may have been wikipedia though...

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1. Can possibly/probably grown in the highlands of Scotland

you'll need other help there--nice, alec! It's great to see agreement on the effect of heartrot--might increase risk, might mitigate it! Rot is literally a result of fungal activity--right? Whether or not that could be called a disease or "attack" depends, though I agree, often not.

Heartwood may not be as active as sapwood, but there is activity in there, I believe.

 

2. Grow closely alongside one another

they could in the US, though they do prefer different soils and climate.

searched but could not find hackbush, except a bush that is hacked. (?)

 

3. Would suffer from heartwood and, in one case, heart-rot.

Heartwood, "Wood that is altered (inward) from sapwood and provides chemical defense..." does not cause suffering that i have seen. :001_tt2:

 

I've never seen heartwood in holly, for example.

 

 

Sounds like a fun project! :thumbup:

Edited by treeseer

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