David, a member of our Tidy Towns Committee brought this tree to our attention.
He had spotted it while walking in Kilteevan . It is in the Doogarymore area but not in the forest. It was standing tall, a single somewhat different specimen. He wondered about its identification. The opposite branch formation is quite noticeable.
So we photographed it, tried to identify it but could not be sure. We contacted David Fallon an Ecologist in Roscommon to see if he could help us. David has kindly assisted is and in his opinion it is a Sitka Spruce. Our sincere thanks to David Fallon for pointing us in the right direction.
So we set about doing our homework and this is what we have learned as a result of our research on Sitka Spuce.
Keep in mind that this is our own desk top research and we have no qualifications in this field. We are simply raising awareness around natural heritage, biodiversity, learning about our rich environment and supporting our Tidy Towns Plan.
Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) is a large coniferous evergreen tree. It is the largest species of Spruce and the fifth largest conifer.
The natural home of Sitka spruce is a narrow belt of the Pacific north west coast of North America.
It grows along this coast from Alaska in the north down through British Columbia, Washington and Oregon to California.
Sitka spruce was introduced to Ireland in 1835 as a specimen tree at Curraghmore, Co Waterford. The tree had reached a height of 32 m by the late 19th century, and 55 m by the late 1990s.
Sitka Spruce is a popular and widely planted forestry tree and is now naturalised in some parts of Ireland. Sitka spruce grows well in Ireland because it is suited to our soils and climate
In its native area Sitka Spruce can to live for over 700 years.
Sitka commonly grows up to 70 metres tall and 2 metres across when mature.
The tallest Sitka recorded is Ireland would appears to be 55 metres in height and 5 metres wide.
The largest known Sitka spruce record is 93 metres tall and 5 metres across though this is difficult to verify.
A young tree in a proper setting can grow 1.5 metres a year .
It flowers in May. Both male and female flowers are found on the same tree. Male flowers are egg shaped, blunt and pale yellow. Female flowers are red, upright and oval, often crowded toward the top of the tree.
Sitka spruce is wind pollinated and regenerates naturally.
Are 2–3cm, slender grow straight out flat, are sharply pointed, hard and stiff, light green to bluish-green. From a distance the foliage appears blue-grey.
The cones (5–8cm) are distinctive, cylindrical, pale green in summer but ripening into nearly white, pale creamy-brown cones; each one of the thin, papery scales has a crinkly, toothed edge. The seeds are small and winged.They ripen in September and are dispersed naturally from October to spring.
Sitka spruce has an important role to play in Carbon Sequestration.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, from the air and release oxygen.
Sitka spruce is valued for its wood, which is light, soft, and relatively strong and flexible. It is used for general construction, ship building and plywood.
The pale timber is generally traded as white deal. Sitka spruce timber is relatively light in weight but has good strength properties. It was used as the prime source of wood for American, British and French aeroplanes in World Wars I and II.
Sitka makes Music
As the Stika wood has notch free rings it is an excellent conductor of sound.
Because of its acoustic properties it is used to make sounding boards in pianos and other musical instruments such as violins and guitars.
Thanks to David for pointing out the tree . There is no doubt every day is a school day!